Jammin’ with the Roses!

July 9th, 2012 | Posted by greg in Daily life... | Recipes

The following post has been published in 2010, when we had the visit of Chef Helal in our kitchens. After the hacking of my blog, all the photos from this post were lost along with many others… I re-did the jam today because I think it’s really worth sharing such an interesting recipe. Also, I hope with all my heart that Chef Helal and his family are safe and sound in the middle of Syria’s unrest.


Following all that flower excitement in the past few weeks with Chef Helal’s visit and from last week Pastry Challenge, I was poised to find out the truth about the much-talked-about Rose Petal Jam.

The delicate jam once finished

Chef Helal had told us how to handle rose petals to create the most subtle and fragrant jam. He also emphasized on the crop of rose needed in order the achieve THE rose petal jam, and it had to be “Damascus Roses”… of course! It was nearly impossible for us to get these roses organically grown, thus we settled for organic untreated red roses.

Chef explained to us the recipe based on 1 kg of rose petals. When I started to pick the petals, I laughed away with my 100 grams of rose petals! Indeed, it’s light as feather and it comes at quite an high cost if you go for quality… but hey, aren’t we here in pursuit of the perfect taste? Well… for a first try, I used 100 grams of regular untreated organic red roses that seemed to have enough fragrance.

Red roses (untreated)

The next step was to mix them with three times the weight of roses, thus 300 grams of white sugar. I chopped the petals with a knife to make sure the natural oil would be well infused in the sugar. At that point, we leave the rose petal and the sugar in a covered container for about 5 hours. The sugar will melt with the essence of the petals…

Here comes the tricky part….  No…. I’m kidding, there’s no trick in doing this century old jam!! :)

We cook it on very low heat. I tried to cook it for 20 minutes and it seemed not enough, and ended up cooking it for almost an hour to make the petals softer, I added a little water during the cooking to avoid the jam from burning. Once cooked, I added a pinch of citric acid (as per the strict directions from chef Helal who calls it “Lemon salt”) and the juice of one lemon. The acidity binds the flavors and cuts the sweetness.


Mixed with the sugar for 5 hours to get a maximum of rose flavour…

As you can see, the color and texture of a “real” rose petal jam is somehow demystified. Intense, yet with a lovely fragrance and texture, far from these chemically flavored wanna-be rose petal jam! But in the end, it’s a matter of taste. Some people might appreciate a more jelly-like approach, other like it blend with fruits.

Delicious spread on our sourdough baguette!

Once the jar was filled, I did as my Mother taught me so well, and turned them up-side-down, covered with a towel until fully cooled. I am now looking forward to digging in!!

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11 Responses

  • Gregoire says:

    Here is a follow up to the recipe. Once cooled I tried it and I think it would be nice to blend it once cookes and while it stil warm, before filling the pot. That way, it will make the jam more spreadable… :)

  • Colette says:

    I sooo wanna try it! I have some beautifully fragant red roses in my garden..which will thanks to you, be put to good use! Thank you! Looks lovely!

  • Philipp Tresch says:

    If i would like to make a jelly… would the quantities; rose, sugar and water be the same as for “QUINCE” Thanks for the feedback!

    • Naturally quince contain a lot of pectin and when making quince jelly, there is not much need for adding pectin as it “gel” naturally. On the other hand, while rose hips contain a little pectin, rose petal don’t. Thus, I think you will need to add a little pectin to make it set. Roses are very fragrant once boiling and i think you could obtain a great flavor and color without too much roses.
      Now that you mention rose jelly, it makes me want to eat it with black pepper and seared foie gras! ;) ahah!! Thank you!!

  • Philipp Tresch says:

    Ohhh, by the way..! Hows it going with the new book, when will it be on-line to order..?

  • Janet says:

    Can any roses be okay to eat or to make jam? What is the difference between organic grown and untreated organic?

    • Many roses are being sprayed with chemicals to make sure they look pretty, however, I couldn’t find any studies on how the chemicals would “stick” on the flowers even after a wash. Organic and untreated organic should be about the same.
      As long as no harmful chemical have been used it’s fine, and of course the fragrance of the roses makes a big difference. Back home we have a wild rose plant growing in our garden and you can smell its perfumes meters away. On the other hand, some of the roses in supermarket barely smell anything but rose! :)

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