You can have your Valentine's Day roses and eat them too
Slap them onto toast or toss them into a boozy sangria, the choice is yours
Like every good Indian child, I’ve been conditioned not to be wasteful. If I ever refused to finish what was on my plate for lunch, my mother would simply cover it, put it in the fridge, and give me the exact same plate for dinner. The one time I accidentally tossed egg shells into the dry bin instead of the composting bin, she took me up to the terrace in the middle of the afternoon for an emotional tour of the compost pit, and the pots of spinach, lauki and roses it feeds. Delivery boxes that find their way to our door are given to the local cat shelter to make beds and toys for cats. Science supports my mother’s high motivation for recycling— a Gallup World Poll showed that people who actively recycle and reuse are happier than those who don’t.
So every year on Valentine’s Day, when my boyfriend shape-shifts from grumpy to romantic and presents me with a bouquet of red roses, I find myself swaying between mushy and feeling guilty about tossing the bouquet into the dustbin (sorry Ma, no composting in tiny Mumbai apartments unless I want my roommates to stage a mutiny).
This time, I had a contingency plan in place to tackle the inevitable Sophie’s choice – to be soppy sentimental Sonu or sustainable Savitri. Red roses are saddled with a one-dimensional reputation, but they are far more than props in Shakespearean tragedies. They can be the heart of a breakfast jam on gloomy mornings, elevate a pitcher of sangria to share with your girlfriends or a soothing fragrance for your bath time ritual — all you need is to dig a little deeper to unmask endless possibilities.
Turns out, a rose by any other name, is just as sustainable — so scroll down, and see how you can turn that limp bouquet into just about anything.
Maybe it’ll inspire you to reinvigorate a listless love, too.
DIY tricks to give your Valentine’s Day roses new life
Photo credit: Aslı Balakin/Instagram
Need a pick me up? Take all the happy memories from Valentine’s Day, store them in a jar and spread them on a toast.
No, Sheetal, we don’t want you to spread actual memories on toast. Try your hand at this scrumptious rose jam recipe instead.
- 3 cups edible organic rose petals
- 3/4 cup cane sugar
- 3 tbsp pectin
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup water
- Prepare the roses by removing the petals and washing them well.
- Combine the sugar and pectin in a bowl. Then, in a medium heavy-based pan, add the sugar pectin mix, water, and rose petals.
- Heat the mixture over low-medium heat, stirring constantly, till the sugar is entirely dissolved. Don’t raise the temperature until it is dissolved, otherwise, you can end up with a grainy jam.
- Add the lemon juice and then continue to heat at a slightly higher temperature for another five to 10 minutes ( only stirring once or twice). The mixture should begin thickening.
- Remove from the heat and allow the jam to cool slightly. Meanwhile, sterilise all the jars you’ll be using to transfer and store the rose jam. To do this, wash everything with soapy water and then place it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 160 degrees celsius to ensure that it is completely dry.
- Once cooled, pour the jam into the jars and store.
Photo credit: Feastingathome.com
Wild rose sangria
Just when you thought sangrias couldn’t get any better, this flavour rose to the occasion.
- 1 bottle rosé wine
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup rose petal simple syrup (recipe below)
- 1/4- 1/3 cup elder flower liqueur
- 1 – 2 tbsp fresh wild rose petals for garnish, washed
- A handful of fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
For rose petal simple syrup:
- 1 cup washed fresh wild rose petals ( or 1/3 cup dried petals)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- To make the rose petal simple syrup, bring all the ingredients to a simmer, stir until sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat off. Let rose petals steep for 12 to 24 hours in a cool place. The longer you leave them, the more intense the flavour is. Then strain and refrigerate.
- Pour the wine, rose petal simple syrup, and elder flower liqueur into a large pitcher. Throw in the fresh wild rose petals and mint. Refrigerate for one to two hours. Serve over ice.
Photo credit: freestocks/Unsplash
Never underestimate the power of a bowlful of goodness – nothing cures heartbreak like a bowl of ice cream and home sickness like a steaming bowl of dal chawal. And a bowl of potpourri that makes your home fragrant and welcoming is all you need seal the “Hostess of the year” title.
- 1 dozen roses
- 1 orange, sliced
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 bunch of rosemary
- 1 bundle of lavender
- Bergamot essential oil
- Carefully remove rose petals from the bouquet, leaving some rose buds completely intact.
- Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet along with the rosemary, lavender, and orange and lemon slices.
- Bake at 94°C for 2 hours, or until completely dried out.
- Spritz with bergamot essential oil and carefully toss to combine.
- Put in decorative bowls and place around the house.
Photo credit: Familystylefood.com
Rose and pistachio cookies
Use Valentine’s Day bouquets to make tea time a whole lot more interesting.
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 cup cold butter, cut into tablespoons
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp rose water
- 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp shelled pistachios, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp dried edible rose petals, crushed
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- Whisk the flour, cornstarch and salt together in a bowl.
- In a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for a minute on medium speed. Add the sugar and rose water and continue beating on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth, like thick mayonnaise (this can take up to five minutes or more depending on the temperature of your kitchen).
- Scrape down the bowl with a spatula, then add the flour mixture on low speed until it’s incorporated. Stir in the pistachios and a tablespoon of the rose petals. The dough will be crumbly and not quite hold together, but that’s okay.
- Transfer the dough to a work surface and gently squeeze and push the dough together to form a ball. Divide the dough in half and roll into firm logs that are about six inches long. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, for approximately two hours or more.
- Preheat oven 176°C with the racks arranged in thirds. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Brush the logs with the egg white. Combine the remaining two tablespoons of pistachios and a tablespoon of rose petals on a large plate or shallow pan. Roll the logs in the mixture to coat.
- With a thin, sharp knife, slice the logs into cookies that are half-an-inch-thick and arrange on the baking sheets.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back, halfway through, until the edges begin to turn light golden. The cookies will be soft, but will firm as they cool.
- Transfer to a rack to cool completely, and serve.
Photo credit: Mathilde Langevin/Unsplash
Rose and hibiscus bath salts
Show yourself a little love by making fragrant bath salts to sweeten up your self-care routine.
- 1/4 cup Himalayan salt
- 1/4 cup epsom salt
- 1 tsp argan oil
- 3 to 5 drops lavender essential oil
- 2 tbsp dried rose petals and buds
- 2 tbsp dried hibiscus petals
- In a mixing bowl combine the Himalayan salt with some epsom salt.
- Using a dropper, add three to five drops of lavender oil to the salts and stir well.
- Add argan oil, and combine well.
- Toss in dried hibiscus and dried rose buds and petals.
- If not using immediately, transfer to an air-tight container and store in a cool and dry place.
Photo credit: Sayyes.com
Pressed rose petal tray
There is nothing more romantic than chancing upon pressed petals of rose when thumbing through an old book. Take these nuggets of memories and use them to make mundane activities like breakfast in a bed, a little bit more personal.
- Plain white tray
- Collected rose petals and leaves
- Craft glue
- Paper cup
- Stirring stick
- Epoxy resin
- Pluck out rose petals and leaves. Wash and dry them off.
- Press them in a book, put weights on top of the book and leave them for at least four to five days. When they’re pressed you can place them on the tray and experiment with the pattern.
- You’ll need to glue down each piece. The epoxy will make the petals more transparent, so be sure to carefully glue just a bit around the edges so it won’t show through too much.
- Follow the instructions to mix the epoxy – mix the contents of the two bottles given, in a cup. Just be sure that there are equal portions of each and that it’s mixed thoroughly.
- Pour carefully into the tray and smooth around with a stirring stick. You want there to be a very thin coat just covering the flowers and leaves. After 5 minutes, you can blow on the little bubbles to make them pop. Let the tray dry for at least a couple of days. If you find that any parts of the roses or leaves are sticking out, you may need to add another coat of epoxy.