August 7, 2009



There are many things I love about canning: the satisfaction I get from seeing a row of jars perched on the counter, the sense of pride when someone incredulously asks, “you made this?” and the constant pleasure of being connected to the earth through things I make. Working with
wild products is even more satisfying. I get a rush from canning with found fruit, the more elusive the better. I’m not talking about a pick-your-own stand, I am talking foraging.

Determined to make something in honor of my sister’s recently christened boat “The Rugosa”, I set out with my parents in tow, in search of rugosa rose petals. Also known as the beach rose, its dense thorny thickets grow in sandy soil. With its lush delicate petals, it seems a marvel that it thrives by the ocean.

We found the roses and in the process were bloodied by thorns, brushed with poison ivy, chased by flocks of mosquitoes, never mind the ticks. Aaahhh success!

Here is my recipe for Rugosa Rose Syrup. Unlike rose products made with cultivated roses, this has a wild, slightly green flavor that’s fresh and not a bit cloying.

  • Drizzle it it over fruit,cake or ice cream, or all three if your feeling wild.
  • Fold it into whipped cream or frosting.
  • Add it to champagne, proseco or sparkling water.
  • I'm thinking gin,something with gin.


  • Harvest the pink and the red varieties for their wonderful color.
  • The rose petals are measured by weight because it’s hard to determine their density.
  • If you need to store your petals overnight, do so in the refrigerator in a paper bag (less condensation than plastic).
  • Once you bring the syrup to a boil watch it carefully as it can easily be overcooked which diminishes its fresh green flavor.


  • 6oz fresh wild rose petals, preferably rugosa.
  • 4 cups water
  • 3-4 cups sugar (1 cup per cup of rose liquid)


1. Pick over rose petals removing any bugs, leaves and ticks. Do not wash.

2. Combine rose petals and water in a large non-reactive pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

3. Strain through a damp jelly bag. Measure the liquid and an equal amount of sugar into a clean saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer 3-5 minutes.

4. Remove from heat. Cool. Bottle and refrigerate. Keeps 3-4 weeks.