Coming up roses

One year after we started the batch, we decanted our rose petal wine for a taste test. The original recipe called for sliced lemons to add acid necessary for the yeast to work, with the petals and dissolved sugar . So there is a hint of citrus in the wine, but mostly it tastes like a lightly carbonated flower champagne.

The wine might be a little better with more aging. Not that it’s bad now, but I can see another 6 months or so mellowing out the sugar/alcohol taste. It would also be amazing with some strawberries late in the fermentation, or even just poured over sliced fresh strawberries.  We’ve never made straight strawberry wine before, but have read that the color & flavor can fade in the bottle over time. The color of the rose petals faded fast in primary fermentation, but seemed to hold enough to look pretty in a glass.

Here’s a view of some rose petal jelly we made last summer, with the bountiful rugosa rose bush in the back ground. We planted the bush before we knew that would be prime garden space, but we like it too much to move it now. This year it got chopped back pretty hard so as not to shade the row beneath it, and it looked like we might not get flowers to harvest for another batch of wine. But there are buds a-plenty forming up now, late blooming so to speak, and we’re planning to try a batch of rose petal mead, substituting a gallon of honey for the sugar in the original recipe. I think we’ll also try bottling a batch carbonated. So much better than store-bought ‘fruit beers’.

Rugosas are great roses for low-maintenance beauty, fragrance and utility. We have another row in the front yard that aren’t as strong-smelling as the garden one, but they make giant hips in fall that we transform into rosehip crabapple jelly. Rugosas are also cold-hardy, disease-resistant, and don’t require any fussy pruning.

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Bismarck is settling in nicely still. He’s learned to relax and smile, showing off his disproportionately-large fangs when being pet.

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