It's that time of year here on the farm when we are harvesting roses to preserve for oils, salves, teas and other culinary uses.
Do you have rose bushes in your yard and hoping to figure out what to do with those lovely blooms, aside from them adorning your landscaping? They are so beautiful, it's hard to cut them, but their beauty goes beyond their bloom.
Today's post is going to explore everything Rose. From how to come by rose bushes, how to plant them, when and how to harvest them. After harvesting roses we are going to talk about the best way to dehydrate rose petals. After preserving our rose petals it's on to the fun process of how to turn them into something useful and go over their medicinal uses.
How to Grow Roses
Roses are best acquired from a cutting. That cutting may be obtained from a local nursery in the form of a potted plant or it could be something gathered from a friend, family or other approved place. There are some who go about collecting these rose cuttings and collect different varieties. They call themselves rose wranglers, sort of after the cowboys. They like to wrangle up roses. The Farmer thought this would be a fun hobby in our "spare" time. Just make sure you have permission to go collecting cuttings from the rose bush you are trying to wrangle.
How to Preserve Rose Petals
Once you have your rose bushes established and you are ready to harvest, the best time to harvest your buds is when they are slightly opened. About the time you are enjoying them the most and they are the most perfect on the bush. It's so hard to cut them down but at this point they have the most fragrance and oils in them which will give you the best flavor and the most medicinal benefits.
We prefer to preserve rose petals by dehydrating them. There are two good ways to do this. The most basic is plucking and laying out the rose petals on a paper towel or packing paper, even newspaper might work. This paper will help to wick up any of the moisture on the surface that the roses are sitting on as they dry.
Down on the farm we prefer to use the dehydrator for our rose petals. We place the rose petals on the dehydrator tray leaving a little bit of space around each one if possible. This allows the air to flow around the petal as it drys and will dry the petal much faster. After our petals are placed on our dehydrator trays, we dry at approximately 95-125 degrees. Depending on the type of dehydrator you have this may change. We dehydrate our rose petals for about 8-12 hours depending on the humidity in the area we are drying, and in the dehydrator as well as the moisture level in the rose petals themselves. Rose petals are dry when they are crispy enough to bend and have break. Remember once they cool they will be a little bit more firm than when they are dry.
Medicinal Uses For Roses
Now that we have our roses, grown and preserved we are ready to make things with them! Wait!
I think first we had better learn what they are good for, so we can make the best use of them. Quickly before we dive into that good stuff though, I need to let you know some... legal things.
I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one online. I do not intend to diagnose, treat or cure any illnesses. This information is for educational purposes only. Please consult a physician before you use roses for any medicinal purpose.
Roses are high in antioxidants, they are astringent, an anodyne (pain reliever), nerving, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and mood elevator. Rose petals and hips are very high in calcium having even more calcium than oranges.
Rose petals have a sour taste and are naturally cooling as well as drying. They are astringent, so they tend to help with oral health including tightening and toning the gums. They are a heart loving plant making them beneficial to blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Roses are also cooling and soothing which comes in handy for menopause and pms. They have an affinity for gut health including ills such as leaky gut, IBS and Chron's disease. Roses are also useful externally for rashes, wounds, sunburns or for a facial scrub. They are excellent for using in postpartum care.
What to Make With Rose Petals
So what cool things could we make and use to get all the lovely benefits of roses?
Roses are great for making loose leaf teas (you knew I was going to say that right?) like this one. Also for making tinctures, infusing oils, salves/balms and culinary uses.
Our favorite way to use roses in salves is with our Floral Garden Salve. This salve features a rose oil that tackles those skin ailments we mentioned above. It works with the other herbs and oils in the salve to help bring relief to dry and sore hands while leaving a pleasant fragrance.
Roses have many many culinary uses from jams, to wines, vinegars, honey, salads and TEA! When we traveled to Bulgaria to adopt our daughter years ago, they have rose EVERYTHING as they are known for growing many many roses there. Rose tea was a very popular item.
We have even used the petals to decorate cakes! A great way to skip the dye, extra sugar and still add beauty to your celebrations. What ways do you think you will use rose petals?
Want to learn more about roses? Check out our Youtube video on Culinary and Medicinal Uses for Roses below. Thanks for joining us on the farm and we will see you next time!
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