Doesn’t the taste of rose petal lemon balm jelly sounds devine? Silky and lemony. Me too. However, I could only find one recipe where they used dried ingredients. So being the ever adventurous soul that I am I combined this rose jam recipe with the rose/lemon balm recipe. How did the jelly taste? A little sweet for me but good.
Just to give you a little background, lately, I have been eyeing everything in my garden as potential recipe ingredient. This fall my roses looked Gorgeous (NY accent please.) The lemon balm, on the other hand, was out of control and begged me to cut it. Such a princess.
So, the thought of using dried ingredients was a no go. So, hang on to your seats as I lead you down the road of my rose petal/lemon balm recipe. Beware mistakes along the way!
Soaking the Roses:
10 cups of roses
Water to cover the same.
Here is the tedious part. You need to cut off the white end part of the rose. The white part is bitter. Take big rose not small ones. Otherwise it is harder to cut off the white part.
*Hint* I take whole rose buds so I can smush the rose with one hand and cut off its bottom with the other.
Put them in water for 3 days. I covered the bowl with a plate.
What I should have done is combine both the roses and the lemon balm together and poured boiling water over them to make a tea. I bet the water would have been even more delicious. Ah, next time.
Some people skip the 3 day soak and use the boil method instead. Honestly, I haven’t tried it any other way and would love your thoughts.
After the three day soak:
- 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice. I used organic lemons.
- 2 teaspoons of Agar Powder. I use this instead of pectin.
- About 6.5 cups of rose water
- 9 six inch sprigs of lemon balm (if you don’t do the soak first.)
- 2 cups of Organic Sugar. ( Click the hyperlink. This is the brand I use.) I don’t like a lot of sugar in my jams.
Add the lemon to the rose water. Then add the lemon balm leaves. Bring the water to a boil, then let it stand for 30 minutes to an hour covered. I only did it for 30 minutes since it was late at night.
Then add the agar or the pectin, which ever you use and sugar. (I would use 2 packages of low sugar pectin.) Bring it to a boil for five minutes. Keep stirring.
Mine did not foam like ordinary jam. **Probably because I did the jam backwards. Sugar should have gone in after I put in the agar. I fixed the recipe for you.** Next time I will do it right.
I use the cold plate concept to see if my jam is ready to set. Put some jam on a plate that was frozen. If the liquid looks like jam and is sticky, it set. Some use the spoon test. If it drips slowly it sets. I have to be honest, setting jam is hard for me. More often than not my jams are kind of syrupy. (I am buying a candy thermometer since I heard it helps.) So, I am looking for words of advice.
Because I was screwing with the agar, I ended up boiling more away then I wanted. My main problem is to get the jam to set especially with agar. You think it is not enough and when it cools, you have rock candy instead of jam. Pectin is different. You use less agar than pectin, and have been told you can use less sugar too.
Why do I use agar? I have been using it for year since gelatin isn’t kosher or vegetarian. When I was making jam last summer, I also was going through pectin like water. Normally you only use 1/2 teaspoon of agar for 3 cups of fruit. Plus agar is made of seaweed so you get a few good nutrients from using it.
If you want to try using agar, buy it at an Asian grocery store. Normally, it is too expensive to buy at the store.
Back to the jam:
I ended up with 2.5 pints since I boiled off more of the liquid then I should have. Agar is tricky so I put in a little and a little more. Finally, the jam dripped slowly and I put in the pints.
I canned two pints and stored the other half in the refrigerator. I notice the jam in the refrigerator set quickly, It reminds me of grape jelly without the acid taste.
The next day, the jam looked soupy, and I figured back to the drawing boards.
A few days later? Jam! Still a little syrupy but a start.
Patience is a virtue.
Note: Affiliate Links in the article. Every penny helps me to make jam!