Did you know all rose petals are edible? Though some are more fragrantly delicious than others.
However, it’s important to note that the only rose petals you’ll want to ingest are from roses that have been organically grown, without the use of insecticides and/or fungicides.
If that perfect bouquet of roses from the florist looks or smells tempting in any way – forget about it. The scent may be wonderful, but you shouldn’t even put those rose petals in your dried potpourri, as they’re typically grown with plenty of chemicals and fertilizer.
Which rose petals to choose?
If you can’t save rose petals from the florist, then where can you get them?
Growing your own roses is the best option.
Go for the most intensely fragrant and flavorful ones – these tend to be white, pale pink, or yellow.
Save darker, red roses for your own floral arrangements, or to add color to syrups and teas without the suggestion of rose fragrance.
Purchase from a reputable online source.
You can purchase organic rose petals from a reputable online source if you can’t grow them in your backyard. Mountain Rose Herbs is a fantastic online source for organic herbs and flowers, with a well-earned reputation for quality and customer service in the herbalist community.
Forage for wild or untreated rose petals.
You can also forage for wild roses or collect from a neighbor’s unsprayed yard, perhaps in exchange for some dried rose petals or a jar of delectable rose petal jam?
Rosa canina, otherwise known as dog rose, can make for an interesting addition to your edible landscape and is perfect when planted along wild borders.
Damascene roses are typically pinker in color than dog roses and are more intense in flavor.
Interested in finding out how to eat rose leaves, rosebuds, and rose hips too?
Dive into this article and learn how to stop and eat the roses.
The healing power of roses
Roses – the Queen of Flowers – have been used medicinally for ages. Until the 1930s, roses were still treated as an official medicine for both topical and internal treatments. Not just the petals, but the rose hips and oils too. Both of these are subjects for another date.
What’s so special about roses?
- digestive stimulants
- full of antioxidants and an aphrodisiac all in one.
Keep in mind, that modern hybrids don’t offer all the same medicinal benefits of old-fashioned cultivars and wild species, though they’re edible all the same.
With so many rose species and cultivars available today, it’s hard to know which ones will pass both the taste and smell test. The only way to know if you’ll enjoy the petals for eating, or other rose-y cosmetics, is to sample the rose petal.
Take a small nibble from the tip of the petal in full bloom and lift it to the roof your mouth to feel the aroma.
If you can appreciate the fragrance, chances are good that it will also be flavorful.
In that case, have fun exploring all the new-to-you ways to use rose petals below!
Harvesting rose petals for drying
You may have noticed that many recipes call for dried rose petals.
If you’re able to harvest your own rose petals, you’ll find the whole drying process very easy.
You’ll want to harvest the whole rose heads in midmorning, somewhere between full sun and the morning dew.
After harvesting them, place the roses in a basket, or on a large plate, out of the sun. It’s best if they can dry in a shady place that is also well-ventilated. Flip the roses over a few times a day until they’re dry enough to easily pull off the petals. Then let the loose petals dry for another day, until they’re moisture-free and ready for placing into clean, lidded jars.
10 Ways To Use Rose Petals
1. Rose Petal Honey
Infused honey is a spectacular item to add to your natural medicine cabinet, whether it be infused with garlic or walnuts.
Not only does rose honey taste amazing, it looks beautiful and can help your body fight off a sore throat.
All you need to get started on your healing batch of rose-infused honey is:
- dried rose petals (enough to fill a clean jar)
- raw honey (enough to cover the petals)
To begin, dry your unsprayed rose petals in a basket, on a plate or dense cloth, and allow them to dry out for a few days until they are delicately withered.
Fill a jar loosely with dried rose petals, pour on the raw honey, stir to remove air bubbles and steep (covered) in a dark place.
Allow the honey to infuse for 3-14 days before using.
After the infusion is complete, you can strain the honey for a cleaner appearance, or embrace your rustic side and leave the petals in.
Not only is rose-infused honey beneficial for sore throats, but it can also lift your mood and brighten your day when added to caffeine-free herbal teas. It’s lovely when served over homemade yogurt or a bowl of your breakfast oatmeal too.
You can also infuse honey with fresh petals, but it’s definitely worth the extra time and effort to dry them first. You don’t want your honey to end up with a layer of mold, brought on by the extra moisture in the jar.
2. Rose Petal Tea
In our home, there’s always a pot of herbal tea sitting around. Some days it’s nettle, other days call for horsetail and raspberry stems. And then there are moments of rose petals in green tea – or all by themselves in a pot of hot water.
Make rose tea as you would any other herbal tea that uses petals or leaves, like described below.
Bring as many cups of water to a boil as you intend to drink, remove it from the heat, add a sufficient amount of rose petals and let them simmer for just a few minutes.
Serve it hot and enjoy as is. Or go all out and serve with some of that delicious rose-infused honey and a rose water cupcake or two.
Not only does the rose tea taste amazing, it has many medicinal benefits as mentioned above.
3. Floral Rosewater
It’s simple enough to buy rosewater from the store, for adding to unique dishes from far off cuisines. Rosewater is also great for making your own skincare products, and it can be used in numerous summer cocktails.
Since rosewater is so easy and uncomplicated to make at home, and far cheaper too, we know this is the option you’ll choose every time.
There’s more than one way to make a fragrant and healing batch of rosewater, here are two to get you started:
How to Make Rosewater + DIY Rosewater Face Toner @ The Healthy Maven
Organic Rose Water @ Alpha Foodie
4. Rose Petal Vinegar
Just as the temperatures start to rise and the days begin to lengthen, we’re always off on a foraging tour of our backyard to make a spring herbal infused vinegar with dandelions, alfalfa, stinging nettles and plantain.
Then, as the garden offers more and more to harvest, we make an extremely tasty nasturtium vinegar. Please try it, if you never have before!
As the neighbor’s climbing roses begin to bloom, we are off to capture some blossoms. Naturally, to make rose petal vinegar.
It soothes sunburns, takes the itch out of bug bites and makes for a glorious rose vinaigrette. If you are seeking to impress a certain someone with your cooking skills, be sure to have some rose petal vinegar on hand.
Here’s how to make rose petal vinegar at home.
5. Soothing Rose Petal Oil
If you’re after the benefits of all-natural DIY beauty products, it’s definitely worth learning how to make your own rose oil.
Rose oil is known to:
- increase skin tone
- nourish and regenerate skin tissues
- cleanse and relieve irritation
Once you make rose oil, you can add it to body butters and body creams, lip balms and homemade soaps – even using it as is for a relaxing foot massage.
All it takes to make your own batch is dried rose petals and grape seed oil.
What are you waiting for?
Find the directions on how to make rose oil, here.
6. Rose Soap
Soapmaking is an excellent – and very practical – skill to have. After all, we should all be washing our hands several times a day, as necessary.
The more we can do it with natural soaps, the better off we’ll all be.
Now, I’m not a soapmaker and don’t intend to become one anytime in the near future. That being said, we often buy handmade soaps from others, because soapmaking is an art that we would like to see continued.
Maybe one day we’ll get around to learning. In the meantime we just have to share the beautiful smelling sudsy soaps of others:
Old-Fashioned Rose Soap Recipe @ Lovely Greens
7. Rose Petal Salve
Now, that you have an idea of how to make rose petal infused oil, you can try it out by making a healing salve.
You’ll also need rosehip seed oil, which is known for its anti-aging and skin healing benefits. You can stop worrying so much about wrinkles when you use a dab of this rose petal salve daily. It also works wonders on dry elbows and knees, in part because of the added beeswax.
An optional ingredient for your rose petal salve is rose essential oil.
Natural healing is the way forward, especially when it comes to the care of your skin.
Rose Petal Salve Recipe @ The Nerdy Farm Wife
8. Rose Potpourri
If you aren’t so keen on using air fresheners in your home, due to allergies or concerns over air quality, it’s safe to say homemade potpourri is an excellent aromatic alternative.
As you deadhead your backyard roses, be sure to save and dry the flowers. If they’re less than ideal for eating or using in infused oils or vinegar, why not add them to lavender-rose potpourri instead?
9. Rose Bath Bombs
Every once in a while, you need a calming bath to wash away the stress of the day.
There’s no better way to do this, than with the fragrant aroma of roses. Remember the scent of roses is known to be mood-lifting as well as anxiety relieving. Something we all need these days!
If I were to be making bath bombs, this is the DIY rose bath bomb I would choose.
10. Rose Petals and Epsom Salt Bath Soak
If you don’t have all the ingredients or bath bomb molds for making the above suggestion, the next best thing is to combine soothing rose petals with relaxing Epsom salt.
After a hard day, it’s a wonderful sensation to put your tired feet into a warm foot bath. Adding rose petals makes this a thousand times better.
But you don’t want to wait until you’re tired to whip up a relaxing bath soak. Do it now and be prepared for lazy times later.
A romantic book and a glass of wine is optional with your bath.
Make This Refreshing Rose Bath Soak To Relieve Stress @ Southern Living
7 Ways to Eat Rose Petals
Now, that we’ve shared some soothing ways to use rose petals on the outside of the body, let’s get into the delicious act of eating them.
Again, go for hand-picked organic flowers, the fresher they are, the better they will taste.
Why not try a new and exciting dish with roses that you’ve never had before?
Related reading: 30 Edible Flowers You Can Eat Right Out Of Your Garden
11. Pistachio Rose Panna Cotta Tart
If you’ve have a special occasion coming up (birthday, anniversary, wedding, baby shower, etc.) you are going to adore this extra special tart.
The tart shell is made with pistachios, flour, icing sugar, butter and egg white, while the panna cotta is deliciously rich in whole milk, powdered gelatin, sugar, cream and rosewater essence. Adorned with dried rose petals for good measure.
It is beautifully elegant, perhaps one of the most visually appealing ways to use roses.
Get the full recipe here:
Pistachio Rose Panna Cotta Tart @ Sugar Salt Magic
12. Wild Rose Petal Jam
While there are plenty of ways to indulge your sweet tooth, something you’re not likely to find at the store is wild rose petal jam.
Here you have the freedom to use either fresh rose petals (about 2 lightly packed cups) or 2/3 cup dried petals.
Combine this with water, organic cane sugar, fresh lemon juice (this helps achieve a brighter color) and a tiny bit of fruit pectin.
Serve this amazing rose petal jam over ice cream, spread it on toast, stir it in your yogurt or morning oatmeal.
13. Rose Petal Syrup
Rose syrup is an ingredient in many summery cocktails and mocktails.
Of course, you can also drizzle some into your green or herbal teas, over pancakes and crepes, even adding a refined touch to your morning latte.
To make about 2 cups of syrup, you’ll first need to collect a few ingredients:
- 4 ounces of dried rose petals
- 3.5 cups sugar, divided
- 1.5 Tbsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1.5 cups water
- To make the rose syrup, place the dried rose petals in a non-reactive bowl with 1 cup of sugar. Gently bruise the petals by hand, then let the mixture sit overnight, covered in the fridge.
- The following day, fill a saucepan with the remaining sugar, lemon juice and water. Dissolve the sugar by bringing the mass to a boil over medium heat. Then add the rose petal/sugar mixture and return to a light boil.
- Simmer for 30 minutes over low heat.
- Finally, let it come to room temperature and strain the flowers using a fine-mesh sieve.
Now you can store your rose petal syrup in the refrigerator for whenever you wish to add a little splash of summer back into your life.
14. Rosewater Cupcakes
A simple search for rose water cupcakes will send your taste buds into salivation mode.
One thing they all have in common is rosewater.
You can easily make this at home, just scroll back up to #3 to see how.
15. Chilled Rose Soup
In the heat of summer, chilled fruit soups are really a thing, at least where we reside.
Chilled plum soup, cherry soup, apricot soup, watermelon soup – you get the point, chilled soups can be made out of just about any kind of fruit, or as it turns out, rose petals too!
You’ll need some rose petal jam on hand to make this chilled rose petal soup, along with milk, sour cream, yogurt and some fresh mint.
16. Candied Rose Petals
Not first and certainly not last, we’ve come to candied rose petals.
You may be excited to know that you can make them two ways: the traditional way with eggs, or without.
They make for a delicate and fragrant garnish on cakes and cupcakes or as a fancy nibble next to your cup of tea.
Homemade Crystallized Rose Petals @ Food.com
How to Make Vegan Candied Rose Petals @ That Healthy Kitchen
17. Eat Fresh Rose Petals!
Have you ever added freshly picked rose petals to your fruit salads for an explosion of flavor?
What about rose butter to be served with crackers or biscuits?
There are several ways to enjoy rose petals, but you have to try them fresh, at least once, to feel their raw floral essence.
You may even want to blend some rose petals into your summer fruit smoothie, with seasonal honeydew and strawberries.
If you’re inspired to eat your roses, make sure to add some new – and tasty – varieties to your garden when planting time comes around!
Related reading: How To Grow A Brand New Rose Bush From Cuttings