Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Gift Giving...Make Mine a Rose Herbal Surprise

With apologies to Gertrude Stein, "a rose is a rose is an herb." Plants defined as herbs are useful for fragrance, food or flavoring. Many have properties effective as medicine or coloring materials - for a natural dye mix lavender, roses and a little mint and lemon juice to turn materials shades of pink. 

Roses more than qualify as top shelf herbs, their provenance dates back to the sixteenth century Ottoman Empire where rose petals were distilled and made into rose oil*. This holiday season consider the "Queen of Flowers" for gift giving in one or more of their herbal delightful forms - most can be made right in your own kitchen. 

Pamper

Rose and Lavender Bath Oil (from The Book of Herbs), Dawn Titmus)
Ingredients: one cup of almond oil, five drops of rose essential oil (use good quality when using on the skin), five drops of lavender essential oil, sprig or two of dried lavender, dried rose petals (small handful, don't use fresh petals), a decorative bottle to hold one cup or more, raffia
Directions: tie dried lavender sprigs (shorter than the bottle) with raffia and put in the bottle. Add dried rose petals. Pour half the almond oil into the bottle. Add the rose essential oil drop by drop, then the lavender essential oil. Top the bottle with the remaining almond oil, and then swirl the mixture so the fragrances blend well. 

Rose Petal Bath Salts from POPSUGAR
Rose Petal Bath Salts (from 
POPSUGAR Sarah Lipoff)  Makes two cups
Ingredients: rose essential oil, one cup dried rose petals, one cup Epsom salts, 1/3 cup baking soda, 2/3 cup powdered milk, glass sealable container.
Directions: crumble rose petals into small pieces on a plate, then drizzle with a few drops of rose essential oil. Mix together Epsom salts, baking soda and powdered milk in a bowl, breaking up any clumps. Layer the dried ingredients between the rose pieces in the container, starting with the dry ingredients. Layer to the top, the scent will be stronger the longer it mingles in the jar. Add a large scoop (~1/4 cup) to your next hot bath for instant stress relief!

Culinary

Refreshing Tea (Betty Cahill) 
Ingredients: 1/2 cup loose green or black tea, 2 tablespoons rose buds
2 tablespoons cut orange peel
Directions: mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container
Brew: put one teaspoon loose tea in an infuser or tea ball, pour boiling water in cup and steep for a few minutes. Sweeten to taste, sip and enjoy.

Photo from StudioBotanica

Rose Petal Vinegar (Barbara Milo Orbach)
Ingredients: one cup fresh or dried rose petals, 4 cups vinegar (champagne or apple cider vinegar), clean empty wine bottles, clean corks or if using a metal lid over a jar, cover the bottle with plastic wrap first because vinegar will eat away metal if in direct contact.
Directions: rinse and gently dry fresh rose petals (no need for dried). Pour vinegar into a sauce pan and heat to boiling point. Remove from heat immediately. Place rose petals in a mixing bowl and pour hot vinegar over them, cool. Pour the mixture into the wine bottles, cork and let sit for 3-6 weeks. Shake. Strain out the petals and refill bottles.


Photo from Bumblerootfoods
Scented Rose Honey (Kathleen Gips)
Ingredients: 1/2 cup dried or fresh, fragrant, pesticide-free rose petals (homegrown is best, do not use florist grown).
Directions: rinse and gently dry rose petals. Use scissors to cut off the white base of each petal (the bitter part). Chop the rose petals into small pieces on a cutting board. Pour the honey into a saucepan and heat over low for a minute or two. Remove the honey from heat and stir in the rose petals. Let cool.  Pour into a glass jar, yield one pint. 

A quick internet search will help you find scores of other recipes including rose hip sauce, rose petal ice-cubes (great for summer entertaining), rose syrup - try over crepes or pound cake. Also look for easy rose herbal sachet and potpourri recipes. Plus there are many ways to use rose hips in wreaths and dried canes for winter bouquets. Look for quality dried rose petals in natural grocery stores. Some Denver area shops that carry outstanding essential rose oil skin care and other herb products
Herbs & Art 
Apothecary Tinctura 
MoonDance Botanicals 

*There is no other herbal essential oil quite like rose oil, derived from 'Rosa damascena' and 'Rosa centifolia' for use as fragrance in perfumes, lotions and other cosmetics. Today, Bulgaria, Turkey, Morocco and France command the majority of rose oil production. It takes 180 pounds of damask rose petals to produce an ounce of rose oil or attar - the Arabic word that means 'essence' which sells for about $500.00. No wonder Cleopatra and ancient Romans had such high regard for the rose - almost bordering on obsession. They were known to use rose water in fountains, public baths and petals for stuffing pillows.  

Unknown Roses at Normandy American Cemetery
Roses truly speak from the heart - just look around. We decorate with roses for weddings, anniversaries, parades and final resting places. Roses symbolize love, devotion, celebration and life. Their long, rich history spans from thirty-five million year old rose fossil beds in Colorado at Florissant National Park to our first President who grew roses and named one after his mother which is still grown today, 'Mary Washington.' Roses grow in all fifty states and were designated America's national flower by Congress in 1986.  

 

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