Nootka Rose Petal Honey
Every May and June, biking along, I smell the wild Nootka Rose hedges before I even see them blooming: the aroma of long warm days, cool nights, damp mornings, and the full chorus of birds returning. Each morning feels full of possibility, and my favorite way to start is with a breakfast of Wild Rose Honey drizzled onto crunchy buttered toast with a bitter cup of coffee or tea.
Harvesting the petals is as much a pleasure as eating the honey. You will notice the flowers everywhere at this time of year, and while I like to harvest a few buds to make a rosebud necklace, I prefer to harvest the petals after the flowers have fully opened. This gives the bees a chance to collect pollen, and ensures plenty of rose hips in the fall. If you find a decent-sized rose hedge, you can harvest a considerable quantity of petals in a rather short time. Dry them in a dehydrator, or on a screen over a wood stove, or a dark warm room with a fan blowing. Perhaps a very low convection oven would work too, but you don't want to cook them!
Once your petals are dry, you simply crush them through a metal sieve with fine grating into a bowl, and then fold in high quality local honey. I used a 32 oz jar of Sailing S Honey from the Corner, and folded in about 2 cups of dried petals. Then I divvied it out into small jam jars, since Rose Honey makes a most excellent gift.
Besides being a delightful toast topping, I enjoy it swirled into hot tea, as a topping for plain yogurt, or drizzled onto crepes.