Updated: Sep 15
Did you know that roses are edible?! And oh my goodness, SO delicious! Just be sure that you have roses that have not been sprayed or treated with chemicals (who wants to eat that?!).
I grow three types of roses; common Knockout (rewilded from original planting 14 years ago), Rosa Rugosa (touted for medicinal qualities) and an heirloom Abraham Darby (petal dense). We usually opt for low maintenance type plants, which roses aren't if you want to keep them healthy! With the roses, I've learned about black spot & how to kill/prevent it, how to prune to ensure air flow, how to maintain pruning for maximum blooms & now adding milky spore treatments to prevent the scourge of beetles that hit hard this season. I wasn't sure taking on roses would be my thang with them being high maintenance. Between the amazing flavors & medicinal benefits, it is most definitely worthwhile!
First up, the Knockout. Very common, easy to find at big box stores. If you're going to eat them, I would suggest buying from a small, local nursery NOT a box store. Knockouts are popular because they are prolific bloomers from late spring through summer in our area (upstate SC, zone 8a/7b). They have a mediumish bloom density & a delicate fruity scent/taste that will wake up your taste buds. Knockouts are the base for my Rose Petal jelly being about 1/2 to 2/3 of the blend.
Rosa Rugosa is a delightful lightly floral rose. This one is a low density bloom with 5 petals, so it has a much more open look once the bud fully blooms. Bugs love to nestle down in the center to sleep, eat & gather pollen. If you're into rose hips, Rugosa gets beauties that are about the size of crabapples! I enjoy sprinkling a few blooms into each batch of jelly once I've dried what I'm storing for the year.
I'm really fond of this one, the Abraham Darby. It's also a prolific bloomer meaning the more you snip off blooms or deadhead the more will grow from spring into autumn.
This variety is also petal dense having upwards of 100 petals per bloom! The bloom is a large 5” cup.
Now on to the sensory bits which are simply divine! It’s very fragrant yet not overly floral. It has a fruity scent that also pleases the taste buds with a flavor reminiscent of apples. Yes, really!
And as for the candy rain nickname... I can only imagine it’s because as you pull the apricoty-pink petals they transition into a burst of yellow tucked down into the very inner edges only visible once plucked from the hip.
I included some of these blooms in my first ever rose petal jelly & was giddy at the burst of flavor that brought back memories of my sugar-laden childhood eating Sweettarts.
Side note - when buying rose petals if you have sulfur issues, be sure your roses haven't been treated with any sulfur fungicides (commonly used to control black spot).