It felt like a day to accomplish something, though we did not really get going in very good time. I managed to sleep in until 7:30, then we lingered in the barn, playing with the goats. We decided to try to get the buckling drinking from a bucket instead of a bottle, which was an entertaining process that ended with me wearing considerably less milk than I had really expected. We will be weaning him in earnest sometime in the next couple of weeks.
After chores, we went for a little wander around the forest behind the house. I found a thicket of wild roses that were still in bloom – I thought all the flowers had all come and gone here, and had been quite sad about that, as I had really wanted to try making rose jelly to go with the dandelion jelly I made a few weeks ago.
We went and grabbed buckets to pick into, then got right at it. Despite our best efforts, however, we came up short of the quart of loosely packed petals the recipe called for. That’s when Hubby commented that we had seen some roses still in bloom in the ditches around the Acreage, and maybe we should go have a look around the provincial forest just down the road, in case there were any there.
Hubby’s idea was inspired. We hopped in the car with our buckets and bug spray, and Hubby brought his camera with the macro lens. In just an hour’s picking, we came home with well over a quart of petals, plus Hubby got some fantastic pictures of the local insect life:
Anyhow, we came home, and I made my peace with the Jam Gods. I started out with a recipe, then modified it beyond all recognition, and it even worked! Here is what I did:
I simmered one quart of (loosely packed) wild rose petals in one quart of water for about 15 minutes, until the petals had gone all clear and gobby. I strained the petals, and added the juice of two lemons, which, incidentally, took the rose water from an unappetizing brownish color to an incredible shade of pink that I did not believe occurred in nature, but I digress…
I topped up the rose / lemon liquid with water, to make an even 4 cups, added a pectin packet (regular, not low-sugar), and brought it to a boil. Once boiling, I added 5 1/2 cups of sugar, brought the whole mess back to a rolling boil, and boiled it for one minute, as per the pectin packet directions.
After taking the jelly off the heat, I ladled it into jars, then water bath processed the lot. Some people just sterilize the jars, but I just don’t want to run the risk of losing a whole batch of jelly, especially when the wild rose petal-picking took so long, and is only really an option for a few weeks out of the entire year. That is the upside and the downside to seasonal fare, I suppose – it is short-lived, then you get to anticipate it until next year.
The jelly did not set up right away, but after a couple of hours, was plenty solid enough. It is not overly sweet, which is nice, and I think it would be good with cream cheese (maybe on a cheesecake?) or in jam cookies, as well as on toast. This one will be a novel addition to some future gift baskets, for sure!