Monday, 24 August 2015

     i live in alberta and our provincial flower is the wild rose.  you can find them growing all over the place!  in the river valley, on the sides of the road...  there are lots growing out at the farm and i had the brilliant idea to make rose petal jam this year!  however, it did not go quite as well as expected.  i had problems right from the start.  i wanted to pick roses out at the farm because even though you can find them at the sides of the road in the city, they have been exposed to a whole bunch of car exhaust and are not exactly the things you want to be ingesting.  so!  i went out the farm one weekend with my dad and was ready to pick petals, i walked all around the farm and... ugh.  there were barely and blossoms left!  i guess the rose season was pretty much over.  so disappointing!
     on the way back we stopped several times when we saw blossoms in the ditch and picked flowers, even though these were roadside, it was in the country and there much much less traffic and so i figured they would be alright!  i ended up getting a decent amount, so it seemed like project rose petal jam was going to go ahead after all!
     i had looked up many different recipes online and most were similar.  there were a few that did not include pectin but they all required WAY too much sugar for my liking.  i ended up deciding to more or less follow this recipe from feasting at home because it did not strain out the rose petals to make a jelly but just let them soften up and incorporate into the jam itself!  neat!
     however, the recipe calls for pomona's fruit pectin, which i did not have.  i have never used pectin before (well, except for the apple pectin i made myself and used in the pomegranate jam i made for christmas last year), and even though i was expecting to have to use pectin to firm up the rose petal jam and had bought some in anticipation, i was still pretty confused by thew whole subject.  i tried looking online to find a conversion of pomona's to regular commercial pectin with no luck.  i was also kinda confused because having picked the rose petals late i only had enough for a half batch anyway, and when reading about making jams with pectin they like to make things sound scary: make it EXACTLY like the recipe OR ELSE!!!!  screw that, i figured i would just wing it.
     then i had a brilliant idea!  AGAR!  so i looked it up online quickly and it has been done, people do use agar as a replacement for pectin, so i figured i might give that a go, couldn't hurt?  i had also read multiple times about people making little bags full of lemon peels/seeds and putting it in the jam as it is being prepared to help impart some of their pectin, so i figured i would give that a shot, it might help a little bit right?
     so here is how it went.  i did not have a lot of petals to begin with, about 1 cup lightly packed.

     i added them to the pot along with 0.75c of water and heated them up to a gentle simmer.  (meanwhile having a bit of a disaster with my canning pot.  i was not using a regular canning pot but just a large pot and the original pot i decided to use ended up being too small so i was running around trying to get a larger pot ready.. ahhh!!!!)

     next was time to add the sugar.  1c of that.  and then stirred it up to dissolve.

     then add the all important lemon juice!  1.5 Tbsp. of it.  this is when some super duper colour changing occurs!  the acidity of the lemon juice, i do not know why, makes the dulled up rose petals turn a nice bright colour again!  yay!  most of the recipes i read online mentioned that your liquid will turn brownish, it seemed that just after adding the sugar mine was still a nice pink colour?  but the lemon turned it a brighter reddish that it had never been before!

     next it needed to simmer a good 20min.  here is where i added in the lemon bag, which looked like this:

    it is simply a piece of cheesecloth containing the skins and the few seeds that were in the lemon that i used for the lemon juice.  i stuck it in the pot and let everything simmer for 20min or so.

    then i took out the lemon bag thingy.  took the jam (which perhaps i was not watching as well as i should have been) off the heat & did the spoon/plate test with some plates from the freezer.   and this jam was THICK!  super duper THICK!  it pretty much right away formed a solid glob.  so... forget about figuring out pectin conversions or trying out agar, i did not need a way to thicken this stuff up, this was a sticky mess!  ugh.  i guess that that lemon bag thingy had WAY more pectin power then i thought it would.  WAY MORE.

     i ended up adding 0.25c of water to the mix and that seemed to thin it out ok.  it was still pretty thick but not too bad.  at this point i was kinda in the ..i want to bottle this stuff and get it over with ..state.  and guess what?  i ended up getting 1 teeny tiny little bottle out of it!  & guess what else?  my bottle didn't seal!!!  ugh.


     this is a post i wrote awhile ago and did not actually post for some reason?  it was saved as a draft.  i guess i forgot to press publish?  oh well!  anyway.  i stuck the jam in the freezer, since i was not pleased with the experience, so whatever.  the bits eaten during clean up were yum though!  i thought about making rose HIP jam, but i dont think so.  i think i am going to make more nectarine jam like i did last year, that stuff turned out SUPER!  the best stuff EVER!  and i want to make plum jam!  yay!

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