Rose Petal Jam

While I strolled the market in Chisinau, most of what I saw was just like in every other marketplace I’ve ever visited.  There was an abundance of fruit and vegetables.  And, during my visit, cherries and strawberries were in season.  So, I feasted.

There was, however, something that completely puzzled me.  I spotted box after box of pink roses.  They weren’t completely fresh looking either.  So, I simply couldn’t figure out who would buy them.  You wouldn’t get a very good reaction if you bought your sweetheart old roses.  But, I learned later, you might get a hug from your mother if you brought her flowers to make jam. That was a new ingredient to discover in my travels.

Before I left Moldova, I stayed at the Vila Roz where my host explained the whole process.  She had a large pail of rose petals.  I was informed that not all rose petals work for jam.  Of course, it wasn’t clear which ones do and which ones don’t work.  So, I did a little research.  It appears that pink and red are the chosen colors to use.  The more fragrant the flower, the tastier.  And, if they have thicker tissue at the base, you should remove that first.  You certainly want to use flowers that haven’t been sprayed with pesticide.  If you grow your own, you can be sure about that.

Rose Petal Jam
Vila Roz, Orheiul Vechi, Moldova

8 ounces rose petals
2 cups of sugar
juice from 2 lemons
3 cups of water
1 pkg. pectin  (1.75 oz.)
1 Tbs rose water
To be honest, I saw the beginning of this recipe, but I wasn't healthy enough to watch it to completion.  I had a bronchial infection and needed sleep and medication.  So, after watching the first couple of steps, I missed the rest. Communication with Liuba Railean, the woman who ran the guest house, was easy if you spoke Russian or Romanian.  If you spoke English, it was only by using a computer and Google Translate.  Thank goodness for technology!

The Vila Roz recipe was easy.  Mix the rose petals and sugar.  Set them aside for an hour.  The juice of the petals mixes with sugar to form a rosy jam.  No boiling.  No heat.  No pectin or lemon juice.  Certainly no added rose water.  It sounds too good to be true.  But, that is what a very sweet woman in rural Moldova told me.  It must be true.

So, put one cup of sugar in with the petals and mix it up with your hands as you would mix bread dough.   Massage it well.  You want a good coat of sugar all over the petals.  Then, you let it rest at least an hour.  You could even let it rest overnight.  End of recipe.  It's supposed to be done.

Now, it wasn’t done at Vila Roz, but I read elsewhere that you could add lemon juice to the sugar and petal mixture.  And, you can add heat and pectin if you so desire.

Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat and then add the rose petals and that other cup of sugar.  Stir it all up until all of the sugar has dissolved.  Then, reduce the temperature to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Turn the heat up one more time and bring the mixture to a fragrant boil.  Add the pectin and continue boiling for a minute.  Then, your jam is ready to be poured into containers, or better yet, let it cool and start eating it.  I’ve enjoyed and smelled roses all my life.  I never knew they also had a delightful taste.  This is a treat.

Just to give you options to consider, in one recipe I found, a little rose water was added.  I personally think that’s cheating in this recipe.