Rachel Lambert: forager, author, guide
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Roses are Red, White, Pink and Edible

Ah, to stop and smell the roses, is a valuable moment in life. Everything else can fall away as your nose reaches towards the soft petals of the rose and you breath in, deeply.

It can also be an unknown moment; will the scent be strong or subtle, reminiscent or new?

Both wild and cultivated roses can be used, though please see my tips for picking below. The most common wild roses in the UK are Dog Rose (Rosa Canina), Field Rose (Rosa Arvenis) and the Japanese Rose (Rosa Rugosa). Each rose has a different scent, so it's well worth smelling before you start picking, and finding your favourite rose types.

Such is the delight of roses. Petals can be used to decorate cakes, in cold soups, salads, meat dishes or desserts. Here's a few tips before you pick them though;

Picking Tips for Roses

  • If you're picking cultivated roses, check: have they been sprayed?
  • You can dry rose petals (then rehydrate them), or use them fresh
  • Are the petals ready to be pluck (do they come away easily)?
  • Petals that are ready to pick may have already fallen, or come away easily when touched (see below)
  • Only pick the petals, never the whole flower-head (so the fruits can ripen later in the year)

In early summer and summer I may include roses in my foraging courses, and in the autumn I include the fruits of roses; the rosehips.

Here's my Rosehip Tart recipe, and also my Rosehip Fruit leather recipe, both are delicious and full of vitamin C. Finally, I also share my Wild Rosehip Chocolates recipe (great for valentines!).

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