All week-end I Zahra and I buried our noes into the lush roses that graced the tables, and were already feeling sad to leave them before the week-end was even over. Then just as we were sipping tea and enjoying the last that the evening has to offer the suggestion was raised that perhaps I might take one or two, and then I jumped up for joy because I have been wanting for years now to find untreated organic roses with this kind of fragrance to make sweet rose honey and rose petal jam. And just like that a plan was set in motion, for I was gifted with the best thing–I was allowed to take ALL of the last of the large blooms from the garden home!
I was so excited, that almost as soon as we walked through the door I was pulling out one of my favourite cookbooks and stuffing my nose into the bag of roses to take the last few deep inhale of that sweet ambrosia.
In the end I decided to make infused honey–of course! and some simple rose petal jam, but really it is more like a paste.
The honey was easy, I set a small pot of last years crystallized honey on the lowest setting it would go, so as not to spoil the natural enzymes, and then added two big handfuls of rose petals and mixed them all in. I left the pot for a very short time, maybe 5-6 min’s not even really enough time to get warm, but the crystals broke down and made the honey runny again, and then I quickly poured it into my waiting bottle. This bottle will become sweet medicine elixir, and I will take small spoonfuls of it all winter long. This stuff really helps the deep winter blues let me tell you! I might even share some….
In the meantime I offer you this poem by Mary Oliver…for she captures the bees and the roses with her words so well……
What is this dark hum among the roses?
The bees have gone simple, sipping, that’s all. What did you expect? Sophistication?
They’re small creatures and they are filling their bodies with sweetness, how could they not moan in happiness?
The little worker bee lives, I have read, about three weeks.
Is that long? Long enough, I suppose, to understand that life is a blessing.
I have found them — haven’t you? — stopped in the very cups of the flowers, their wings a little tattered — so much flying about, to the hive,then out into the world, then back, and perhaps dancing, should the task be to be a scout-sweet, dancing bee.
I think there isn’t anything in this world I don’t admire.
If there is, I don’t know what it is.
I haven’t met it yet. Nor expect to.
The bee is small, and since I wear glasses, so I can see the traffic and read books, I have to take them off and bend close to study and understand what is happening.
It’s not hard, it’s in fact as instructive as anything I have ever studied.
Plus, too, it’s love almost too fierce to endure, the bee nuzzling like that into the blouse of the rose. And the fragrance, and the honey, and of course the sun, the purely pure sun, shining, all the while, over all of us.
- Mary Oliver