June is peak rose blooming season in the UK; gardens are blooming with colour and fragrance Ė and you might just find some petals on your plate.
Here in Blighty, there is a new trend for cooking with flowers, although in Middle Eastern and Indian dishes, blooms have been used for centuries.
But how best to do it?
A general rule of thumb when it comes to choosing roses for cooking with, that the stronger the smell, the fuller the flavour. Youíll find that red roses have almost no taste at all, so while the colour might be a welcome addition to a dish, it wonít bring any flavour to the table.
Wild roses or those from your garden will work nicely, but never cook with roses which have been treated with pesticides. You should pick roses after the early morning dew has dried away, but before the heat of the day sets in.
Once picked, the options simply branch out ahead of you. You can use petals to decorate salads or you can leave them to dry out in the sunlight before incorporating them into dishes.
A really good place to start is with rosewater which can be added to a vast array of recipes from jams to cakes to curries. All you need do is simmer a handful of petals in triple the volume of water and leave to cool before straining. From there you can add it to all sorts of dishes to bring a subtle, sweet flavour.
Although rose lends itself to things like this delicious Turkish Delight recipe by Adam Simmonds or perhaps this spectacular cake by Holly Farrell donít be afraid to use it to make dry rubs for meat dishes. Put it with salt, sugar, cinnamon for an aromatic rub for chicken or lamb, that will utterly bewitch.