Thursday, 21 June 2012

Wild Dog Rose - Petal syrup or jam

Rosa Canina otherwise known as the wild dog rose has been flowering nearby for a couple of weeks now and it was whilst out picking ElderFlowers that I noticed the variety of white to pink petals of this beautiful dainty scented rose. It only flowers between the beginning of June and the end if July so in a few short weeks it disappears.

I found some interesting things out about the dog rose and it is believed that it got its name from the 18th / 19th century when it was used to treat the bite of a rabid dog. It is also the county flower of Hampshire. But the one that really made me laugh was that in France they call it 'itchy bottom' because of the fine irritant hairs in the hips. 

It was whilst reading one of my old jam and preserves books that I came across a recipe for rose petal jam and the footnote mentioned that you could also use wild roses. So a few days ago whilst we were out foraging for wild garlic we also picked a small bag full of wild rose petals. roses. Taking care to only pick a few petals from each bush we found so leaving some behind. As these would be low in pectin in comparison to a fruit jam so the recipe suggests using lemon pips to provide the natural pectin. The best time to pick the flowers is in the morning when there are not so many insects around.

The petals gave a wonderful aroma to the kitchen as they steeped and I was quite surprised how strongly they smelled. Cooking with petals instead of fruit was a definite learning curve for me and the first batch I did went just a little too far as I was expecting it to take longer to reach setting point, but quickly thinking on my feet I took out the petals, added a little more water and we now have a wonderfully fragrant wild rose syrup which will be delicious on pancakes or icecream.

This is one of the reasons I love cooking with new ingredients as its good experimenting with new recipes and although it didn't work the first time when I go out and pick some more I can tweak the recipe again to hopefully create this beautifully fragranced jam. The recipe is as follows if you would like to give it a try;

Wild Dog Rose Petal Jam

500g / 1.1lbs sugar
4 large handfuls of wild dog rose petals
juice of a lemon
500mls / 1 pint of water

Add lemon juice, water and rose petal in a pan and simmer on a low heat for 15 mins, stirring periodically. Add the sugar and keep on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. At this point you can decide whether you want to keep the petals in the jam or strain and discard them. If you are not using a jam sugar with added pectin then add either a sachet of pectin or use lemon pips for natural pectin. Bring to a rolling boil, keeping a close eye on it for signs that it is reaching the setting point. If you look in a good jam book or research the internet you will find some really good tips about this stage. Take off the heat whilst you test the jam on a cold plate and see if it crinkles when you drag your finger through it. When you are happy it has reached the setting point, carefully put into sterilised jars. I usually put the jars into a cold oven then heat it to 150c and leave them at that temperature for 15 minutes.

If you would like to learn more about my exploits foraging for free wild food and the recipes I have cooked with my herbs and grow your own then please have a look at some of my other posts :)

Wild Dog Rose

Mixture of white and pink petals 


  1. Lovely photos.

    I saw a recipe in the Pam Corbin book that is similar. I'm just waiting for a nice day so I can go and get some dog rose and some more elderflowers

    1. i am actually quite pleased my first attempt didn't work out as i ended up with some delicious syrup which is great on pancakes or ice cream. Hope you get your nice day :)

  2. This is really very fascinating post. I would like to learn more about this Wild Dog Rose. I am very pleased to read this informative post.

  3. Excellent recipe! I'm planning on making this today to preserve as Christmas gifts! I'll be posting my exploits on, where I post foraging ideas- come over and have a look!