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The Cottage July/Lammas 2001 Issue

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Herb of the Month

Roses

Roses(Rosa spp.)
Planet: Venus
Element:Water
Powers:Healing; Health; Love; Luck; Creativity; Balance; Anointing; Divination; Clairvoyance; Protection; Psychic Awareness.

Roses are a group of herbaceous shrubs found in temperate regions throughout both hemispheres. Roses of all varieties are adaptable to most soils as long as they have adequate water, and are occasionally fed through the growing season. There are varieties that will grow throughout North America. Plant them where you can enjoy their beauty and fragrance.


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The Rose has aromatic, cosmetic, medicinal, culinary, and craft uses.

Aromatherapy Uses: Thread Veins; Dry, Mature and Sensitive Skin; Wrinkles; Eczema; Herpes; Palpitations; Poor Circulation; Asthma; Coughs; Hay Fever; Cholecystities; Liver Congestion; Nausea; Irregular Menstruation; Leukorrhea; Menorrhagia; Uterine Disorders; Depression; Impotence; Insomnia; Frigidity; Headache; Nervous Tension; Stress Related Conditions. Key Qualities: Aphrodisiac; Soothing; Comforting; Antidepressant; Sedative; Uplifting; Appeasing; Regulating; Heart Tonic.

Cosmetic Uses:Rose scented cosmetics are surprisingly simple to make, and their greatest value lies in the aromatherapeutic qualities which keep you feeling fresh and calm through the day. If you have an abundance of roses in your garden, or a supply of Rose Essential Oil on your shelf, you can create a range of ravishing rose products to pamper yourself.

HONEY AND ROSES CLEANSING CREAM

To one-quarter cup of sorbolene cream, add:
1 tsp Almond Oil (for the Vitamin E)
A dessert spoon of warmed honey
Rose oil as needed to give an aromatic scent.

With a wooden spatula, whip the ingredients together.Put the combined cream and oils into a dark glass jar, seal and keep in a cool place.

To use, smooth some of the cream over your face and gently remove with tissues.

After cleansing your skin, you will need to use a soothing toner that will not irritate or inflame sensitive skin. This is mild and effective.



OATMEAL AND ROSES MOISTURIZER

Soak half a cup of oatmeal in one-half cup of distilled or spring water.

Strain the oatmeal through muslin, squeezing hard to extract the milky liquid. Add a tablespoon of warmed honey, and mix well.

Soak rose petals in this liquid in the fridge for a day or two or just add enough rose oil to scent the mixture. Apply with a piece of cotton wool.

Before you go out, dont forget to carry the scent of roses with you.



ROSE TONER

Mix equal parts of witch hazel and distilled water (about 1 or two cups, depending on the capacity of the container).

Add to this one-tablespoon of cider vinegar and as much Rose Oil as you desire.

Store in a cool place and apply to the skin with cotton wool pads.

A gentle soothing moisturizer should be applied after the toning, to calm the skin and keep its natural oils and moisture locked in.



Medicinal Uses:
The fresh petals can be ground with a little boiling water and strained, andt he liquid combined with honey. The resulting liquid is a natural laxative and a tonic for the stomach. The rose hips should be gathered after the first frost. They will be read and ready for drying or making into jam. The jam or jelly is used or coughs. The dried hips are opened, the seeds and hairs removed, and the skins used for an excellent sore throat tea; use two teaspoons per cup of water and simmer for ten minutes. An infusion of the petals, one ounce to one pint of water, makes a soothing eye lotion; strain it first through cheesecloth.

Culinary uses:
Like pansies and nasturtiums, roses ARE edible, but don't eat any flowers that have been recently treated with pesticides or fungicides, or ones that have been treated with a systemic insecticide.



Game Hens with Rose Stuffing

6 Game Hens
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 cups rose petals
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime

Sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/2 cup rose water
1/4 cup whole toasted almonds
2 cups rose petals

Rinse the poultry and pat it dry. For the stuffing, chop the thyme, the rose petals and the garlic together, then stir in the lime juice and the salt. Rub this mixture on the skin and in the cavity of the birds.

Arrange the birds in a large baking dish, then prepare the sauce. To make it, first sauté the garlic in the butter until it is translucent. Stir in the almonds and the cornstarch, then remove from heat. Add the rose water, the whole rose petals (reserving a few for garnish) and stir gently. The smell of this is intoxicating--you may not know whether to eat it or dab it behind your ears. Save it for the birds, though. I like it, but not everyone appreciates Parfum Rose eau du Garlique.

Pour 1/2 of this over the hens, cover them with foil and let them marinate for two hours. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, then uncover the birds, turn and bake for another 10 minutes.

When the hens are done, reheat the remaining sauce. Place the hens on the serving platter or individual plates and drizzle the sauce over them. Sprinkle with the reserved rose petals and serve for a meal tantalizing to the eye, the nose and the tongue.

Instead of game hens, you can also use boneless chicken breasts if you like. Pound them out flat, spread the stuffing on the breast and roll it up, pouring the sauce over it before baking.

As for the rosewater, it can be bought at specialty shops, but it's expensive. You can make your own version--an infusion, really--from two cups of rose petals and two cups of water. It's simple--you make it just like you brew a cup of tea. First, rinse the petals and place them in a ceramic bowl. Next, bring the water to a boil then pour over the rose petals. Cover and let them steep for at least 30 minutes, then strain (I use a coffee filter-lined colander) and it's ready to use. It will keep for several weeks in the fridge, and it's great for splashing into iced tea or tossing with fresh fruit for a quick refreshing salad.

Lavender Rose Mousse

1 quart red rose petals
6 lavender flower spikes
3 cups water
2 envelopes Knox gelatin
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 pint whipping cream
1 square dark semi-sweet chocolate
Few drops of red food color

Wash lavender and rose petals gently and place in pan. Cover with water and bring to boil. Reduce and simmer until petals lose color. Remove petals from water and bring water back to boil. Continue boiling the water until reduced to 1 1/2 c of liquid. Add sugar and gelatin; stir to dissolve. Remove from heat and let stand until cooled to room temperature. Beat whipping cream until stiff and add to rose water. Mix well adding a few drops of food coloring, if you wish . Pour into jello mold or individual cups. Refrigerate until set. Melt chocolate in double boiler. Unmold mousse and decorate by dribbling chocolate lightly over top or with chocolate leaves and rose petals.

ROSE AND CHAMPAGNE SORBET

Recipe courtesy The Herbfarm, Seattle, WA

2 cups (gently packed) rose-petals from roses (pesticide free)
I cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
3 cups cold water
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
I cup brut or extra-dry Champagne or sparkling wine
I tablespoon rose water, for a more intense flavor, optional

Process the rose petals with the sugar in a food processor until the mixture turns into a smooth paste, about 30 seconds; stop to scrape down the sides as necessary. Add 1/2 cup of the water and process for about 10 seconds. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups water, the lemon juice, Champagne, and rose water if using. Pour the liquid through a fine sieve. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

Rose Jam

Petals from 50 rose blooms
1/2 lb of sugar.
Package of fruit pectin
Juice of 5 lemons
With mortar and pestle, grind the petal and sugar mixture.
Add to the pectin and lemon juice and boil for 7 minutes, stirring.
Put into sterilized jars and seal.

Boneless chicken breasts and rose petals.

Petals from 6 roses.
1/2 cup of vegetable broth, or chicken broth.
2 Tbls soy sauce.
2 Tbls of sake, or you might substitute rice vinegar.
2 Tbls of Rose vinegar
1 Tbls of fresh ground pink or green pepper
1/2 lb of mushrooms, shitake are my faves here
Veg oil,
Salt and pepper
Cut the chicken breasts into strips-stir fry fashion.
Slice the mushrooms likewise.
Add them to hot oil in a wok pan and stir fry for 2 minutes
Add to the pan the broth, soy sauce, rose wine vinegar and pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with rose petals.
Serve and enjoy.
Complement the chicken with noodles or wild rice.

Rose Cream Tarte

1/2 cup of rose jam
2 cups of strawberries, (or fruit in season), cut into pieces.
1 pint of whipping cream, (35 %) whipped,
Sponge cake shell or shortcake.
Stir the warmed rose jam into the berries and fold into the whipped cream.
Garnish with a sugared rose flower

Rose Honey

Prepared by simmering 1 cup rosewater with 1 cup raw honey over low heat until honey thickens or reduces by almost half. The Rose Honey may then be filtered, placed in a sterilized container, and stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.


Rose Syrup

Prepared by boiling 1 cup sugar, ˝ cup water, and ˝ cup light corn syrup with 1 tsp. lemon juice and 2 cups red rose petals. Mixture is cooked until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. When cooled slightly, strain and store in the fridge for up to three weeks.


Recipe for Crystallized Roses

Choose a dry day for gathering the roses and wait until the dew evaporates, so that the petals are dry. Before gathering the roses, dissolve 2 OZ. of gum-arabic in 1/2 pint of water. Separate the petals and spread them on dishes. Sprinkle them with the gumarabic solution, using as many petals as the solution will cover. Spread them on sheets of white paper and sprinkle with castor sugar, then let them dry for 24 hours. Put 1 lb. of sugar (loaf) and 1/2 pint of cold water into a pan, stir until the sugar has melted, then boil fast to 250 degrees F., or to the thread degree. This is ascertained by dipping a stick into cold water, then into the syrup and back into the water. Pinch the syrup adhering to the stick between the thumb and finger and draw them apart, when a thread should be formed. Keep the syrup well skimmed. Put the rosepetals into shallow dishes and pour the syrup over. Leave them to soak for 24 hours, then spread them on wire trays and dry in a cool oven with the door ajar. The syrup should be coloured with cochineal or carmine, in order to give more colour to the rose-petals.





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Lavender Rose Petal
Cheesecake

Cheesecake

1 cup Late Harvest Chardonnay or other sweet white wine

2 Tblsp. dried lavender

1 1/2 lbs. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup + 2 Tblsp. sugar

4 large eggs

1 cup sour cream

Crystallized Rose Petals (recipe to follow)

silver pearls (edible kind, of course)

In a small saucepan, combine the wine and lavender. Bring to a boil and reduce to the consistency of marmalade. Strain and reserve the liquid. Chop the lavender finely if you wish to add it, otherwise it can be discarded.

In a mixer, combine the cream cheese and 1/2 cup of the sugar at low speed. Add the lavender liquid (and the lavender if you choose). Mix until smooth. Pour into a buttered 9" springform pan and bake at 325° for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Combine the sour cream and 2 Tblsp. sugar, or more to taste, and spread over the cheesecake. Bake at 400° for 4 minutes. Chill at least 3 hours.

Garnish with crystallized rose petals and silver pearls.





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Magickal Uses:
Rose water is used in gourmet dishes and in love potions. Petals are used in healing incense and sachets, and burned to provide a restful night's sleep. The essential oil is used in ritual baths to provide peace, love, and harmony within the self. The hips are strung like beads and worn to attract love. Rose petals sprinkled around the home will calm personal stress and upheavals in the home. You can also place a single rose in a vase on your altar as a powerful love-drawing aid.

Love Candle

Melt several pink household size (6") candles over low heat. When they are completely melted, remove from heat, add several pink or red rose buds (ground) and 20 to 30 drops of Rose Oil. Pour into a prepared glass jar (with wick and metal tab attached). Allow the candle to cool and harden, and burn on the first Friday after the New Moon to draw love to you

Craft Uses:
Craft uses run anywhere from potpourri to adorning anything from wreaths to picture frames

Grandma's Rose Potpourri

First "salt cure" your rose petals by collecting about 4 cups of various fragrant roses (reds, pinks and whites preferred). Spread them atop a newspaper and let them dry two or three days. (The petals will feel like soft leather when they're ready.) Layer the partially dried petals with 1/2 tsp. non-iodized, coarse ground sea salt in a straight-sided, crockery bowl. Place an inverted plate on top of the petals and weight it down. (I used an old rock.) Be certain to cover all the petals with the weighted plate. Cover the container with foil and seal the edges. Stir the petals daily with a wooden spoon. After 14 days the petals have "cured," reduced in bulk to about 1 1/2 cups, and changed colors (usually auburn, cream, deep rose and purple).

In a separate bowl combine the following:
1 1/2 cups cured rose petals
1 Tbsp. crushed whole clove
1 Tbsp. cedar shavings
3 crushed bay leaves
1 crushed cinnamon stick
1 tsp. fresh shaved nutmeg
10 drops of rose oil
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest or lemon extract

(Note: I found cedar shavings at the grocery store in the section for scents, sachets, etc. for closets and drawers. Rose oil is available from most scent shops.)

Place the mixture back into the curing crock, replace the plate and weight. Seal with aluminum foil and rubber band. Do not stir the mixture and don't peek! The potpourri will smell a bit "raw" for the first three weeks. (If you peek, you'll understand why the literal translation for potpourri is "rotten pot"!) After the fourth week, it can be transferred to a moist potpourri jar or "scent jar". If it dries out, you can refresh with a few drops of alcohol or rose oil. (Grandma called it "feeding the rose jar.")

Making Rose Petal Beads

By Margritte of Ravenscroft

There is no definitive recipe for making rose petal beads. Rather than trying to give specific amounts and ingredients, I have tried to give you guidelines to follow as you do your own experimenting. In the long run, this should lead to more successful beads, as you will be able to adjust the amounts as needed since each batch of petals is different.

Ingredients
Rose petals: This is the only essential ingredient. All the rest are optional. You can use either fresh or dried petals. You should start with at least a double handful. If you decide to use fresh rose petals, pick the petals early in the morning when their scent is the strongest. Fresh petals make a somewhat lumpier dough than dried petals, but you can minimize this by snipping off and discarding the white "nail" at the base of each petal.

If you wish to use dried rose petals, simply spread the petals out on newspapers for several days. If you are in a hurry, you can use a convection oven with no heat to dry fresh petals, but you must cover the petals with a screen. Otherwise the blowing air with scatter the petals all over the oven.

Water: in varying amounts, depending on whether you use fresh or dried petals, and whether you "cook" the beads (see below).

Ground Orris Root: Orris root is the root of Iris florintine. It acts as a fixative which helps the beads smell stronger and stay fragrant longer. Be sure to get it in powdered form, as it is rock-hard and impossible to grind yourself.

Gum Arabic: is an adhesive, helping the rose-petal paste stick together. Get the powdered (not liquid) kind.

Flour: can be used in place of gum arabic. However, be aware that it does have some drawbacks. It has a tendency to mold, after the beads have been exposed to the body's moisture. Also, beads made with flour are more appetizing to bugs. And finally, if you are trying to get a very intense color, flour will tend to wash it out.

Gesso: (pronounced jess' -o) is a possible substitute for flour and gum arabic. I have not tried this.

Rose Oil: To add extra fragrance to the beads.

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Where to Get Your Ingredients
Ideally, you will have fresh roses growing in your backyard, but let's face it, this is unreallistic for most people. Friends and neighbors may be willing to share with you, especially if you promise them some beads for their trouble. Or ask a local flower shop to save the flowers that they would otherwise throw away. You can make good use of flowers that are too wilted to be sold.

Check out gardening and herbal magazines. The ads in these can give you some leads for mail-order sources. Some cities may have herb stores, although these frequently stock only culinary herbs. Health food stores are another possibility.

Failing in that, find some potpourri made only of dried petals. You need to be aware that many brands use woody chips as filler, and these will not work.

Gesso can be found at art supply stores. They also sell gum arabic, but I have only found it in liquid form at these stores. Maybe you will have better luck.

The Process
Your first step is to grind the rose petals. This can be done either in a food processor or a mortar and pestle. Try to get the petals as finely ground as possible, as this will make the dough, and hence the beads, less lumpy.

If you are using fresh petals, you should have something resembling a paste now. For dried petals, add small amounts of water until you get a paste, or dough. If you plan to "cook" the petals (see below) you will need slightly more water here. If you accidentally add too much water, add more dry ingredients (e.g. dried petals, orris root, flour, gum arabic) until you get the consistency you want.

At this time you can also add gum arabic (or gesso or flour) as an adhesive, and ground orris root as a fixative. You can also add rose oil for scent at this time, although some people recommend waiting until the beads are formed to add it since it can evaporate quickly. I have never found this to be a problem, however.

As soon as you have a dough that can be shaped easily, you can begin to form the beads. However, the "traditional" (at least for the Victorian period) way of making beads called for the mixture to be "cooked" over very low heat in a double boiler. If you want the beads to natural colored, heat them in an enamel pot. If you wish to blacken the beads, use a cast-iron pot that has not been well seasoned (treated with oil to prevent rust). At least one recipe I have calls for adding a little salt to the mixture if you are blackening the beads. Another recipe I've seen says that the mixture can be blackened by cooking it with iron nails.

Mash the mixture against the sides of the double boiler, and let it stand over very low heat for an hour or two. Do not let the mixture cook dry. As it begins to dry out from the heat, scrape it away from the sides, stir it, and mash it against the sides again. If it starts to get too dry and crumbly, add a little bit of water. Leave it on the heat however long seems necessary to get a good paste to work with. During Victorian times, the mixture was left on the stove for five days, and the mixture was heated to just below boiling for an hour each day. This seems excessive. Several hours should suffice.

Whatever method you use, once you have a good paste that sticks together easily, you can begin forming the beads. Use a sheet of wax paper taped to the table to roll them on. Have damp paper towel standing by in case things get messy. If you want to have super-consistent beads, roll "snakes" of dough, and then carefully cut these into regularly sized pieces. Or you can simply pinch off small bits of dough for each bead, estimating the right size. Speaking of the right size, remember that the beads will shrink as they dry, so make them somewhat larger than you want the finished size.

If you didn't add rose oil earlier, you can add it now by coating your hands with it. Supposedly this will keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.

You can make a hole in the beads while the dough is still wet, although I find that it is difficult to do so without deforming the bead. Remember that the hole will shrink as the bead shrinks, so make allowances for this. I usually wait until the beads are dry (about 3 days) and then clamp each one in a small clothes pin to hold it steady as I drill a hole with a Dremel tool. Be careful if you use this approach!

You can lay your beads out on wax paper to let them dry, or you can use a strong thread and needle to string them while they are wet, and let them dry on the string. If you do this, be sure to wiggle them every so often so that they don't stick to the string. You can also form them around a long needle, and let them partially dry on the needle. Do not let them dry completely without removing them, as they will stick to the needle and you'll never get them off. The fastest way to dry the beads is to use a convection oven with no heat. The blowing air helps them to dry faster. I confess that in a fit of impatience, I have "preheated" the oven, using the lowest heat setting, but then turned it off when I put the beads inside. It worked fine, but I'm not sure that the extra heat decreased the drying time at all.

If the unthinkable happens, and the beads are a failure (i.e. crumbling and brittle), don't despair. Simply throw them back into the food processor, and fiddle with the proportions again. Think of it as a learning experience. Do not re-use beads that have gotten moldy.

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Some Other Things To Try
Try other plants as well as roses. Select your materials for color as well as scent, remembering that you can always add scented oils to pretty petals. Lavender, tulips, daffodils are all possibilities, as well as various herbs. If you use herbs to make the beads, don't use the stems of the plants, as these tend to be rather woody. Use the leaves, particularly those which are lower on the stems. They tend to be "smellier."

If you know some newlyweds, offer to dry their wedding bouquets and make beads from the flowers.

Use the beads to make rosaries.

Use a mold to shape the beads. Small candy molds might work, or make your own from a clay such as FIMO.

Store your beads in a drawer or closet, and they will act as a sachet, scenting the clothes.

If the beads lose their scent (they will, eventually), you can revitalize them by rubbing rose oil on them.