I’ve always loved roses since my parents’ rose garden in Adelaide, but for years thought they were too difficult to grow with diseases and extensive maintenance and a meticulous pruning regimen. More recently when I had a more developed garden, and something of a maintenance plan, I worried how they would fit in my largely native garden, in my largely native suburb. Two years ago I decided I didn’t care, I love them, and bought eight to try, and last year another thirteen, and as you can see they’ve done quite well 🙂

I love roses for many reasons – their beauty, variety, and history among others, but above all their scent, so almost all of mine are heavily scented. For syrup the scented pink and red varieties work best for flavour and also colour – of that type I have Munstead Wood, Schöne Maid, Forget Me Not, Mme Isaac Pereire, Reine de Violette, Souvenir de Louise Amade, Ispahan, and Rosa Mundi, but many others would work.

Scent is really important here to get a well flavoured syrup, so I wouldn’t bother if you only have unscented ones. Also, and importantly, only use homegrown roses that you know haven’t been sprayed. This syrup is fabulous with sparkling wine or soda water, drizzled over ice cream or yoghurt, or with strawberries or raspberries.

Rose Petal Syrup

Adapted from a recipe in A Year in a Bottle by Sally Wise

  • 4 -6 large, heavily scented deep pink or red roses
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 500g white sugar
  • 650ml water

Remove petals from roses. You should have about 4 cups or 80g. Check carefully for any small spiders or other little creatures you don’t want in your syrup!

Combine petals in a medium saucepan with juice, sugar and water. Heat gently, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then barely simmer over low heat for one hour. The colour will gradually change from clear to deep pink (depending somewhat on the colour of your roses) and should smell wonderful.

Strain to remove petals, pressing on the now pale petals in the sieve to extract all the syrup, then return syrup to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour into sterilised bottles and seal. Refrigerate after opening.

Makes about 800ml