30th June 2013

As we move into mid summer the large creamy clusters of the Elderflower seem particularly abundant this year and have been out for a few weeks but there are still some in bud stage ready to open so they will be available for a while yet, more on them tomorrow.  Out at the same time as the Elderflowers (even when the Elder is a bit late as they are this year) are the several species of  wild rose.

Tags: Wild food foraging courses | Wild food recipe ideas | Wild Food Foraging and Preparation Weekend


The commonest one you are likely to come across in the hedgerow is Dog Rose Rosa canina. It is an aggregate of  of several closely related micro-species, and generally has pink to white petals. It is a scrambling shrub with long arching stems up to 3 metres tall.

Dog Rose Rosa canina

Also relatively common, especially in southern England is Field Rose R. arvensis which is normally a low scrambling shrub up to 1 metre tall with white flowers.

Field Rose R. arvensis

Also found are Sweet Briar R. rubiginosa with pink flowers and Burnet Rose R. pimpinellifolia with white flowers and thin long straight prickles. All of these roses lack the strong smell of cultivated roses  but all can be used in the following recipe which originates from Pakistan and northern India where Damascus  roses would normally be used. It is incredibly simple to make and has an amazing subtle flavour. It can be used as a jam or used to flavour deserts, especially ice cream. It is also said to have health benefits being used to treat lethagy, fatigue, and aching muscles as well as purifying the blood, improving memory and improving eyesight!


  • Gather enough dry rose petals to fill a jar
  • Weigh out about the same weight of granulated sugar
  • Layer the rose petals and sugar in the jar, pressing down as you go until the jar is full
  • Place a lid on the jar and leave on a sunny window sill for 10 days or until the petals have dissolve into a pinkish brown paste.
  • Store in the fridge and use within 6 months.


Kev Palmer

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