Drying Rose Petals – June 2019
A lovely rose bush grows outside where the corner of the porch and steps leading up to the porch meet. The bush, laden with heavy pink flowers, smells heavenly when you walk by it. My sister tells me the rose bush is the double sweetheart variety. Each bloom has an abundance of soft petals. I felt compelled to take some of the flowers for drying to use for teas and other medicines. The following week, a lovely soul came into our booth and ask me if I could craft a self-love tea for her. She had a list of ingredients. As an herbalist, I could extrapolate a general formula and create a tea close to what she had had before while she continued to shop the stalls at the market. This blend had rose petals. Later that week, she sent me pictures of the brewed tea. It had a rich pink red color.
Roses have long been a traditional symbol of not only love but fertility. This makes sense when we think about Valentine’s Day – chocolate and roses – aphrodisiacs, for sure. However, rose leaves, petals and hips also have other herbal actions in the body. Containing Vitamins C,B,E & K, tannins, pectin, carotene and other constituents, parts of the rose bush can also act as a relaxant, diuretic, astringent, febrifuge, detoxifier, decongestant and nervine. So, having dried rose petals on hand can prove to be very beneficial.
Here’s how I dried the flowers which I harvested from our bush. I generally dry all my herbs this way. On occasion, I will dry them on the proofing setting in the oven but I have to remain fairly vigilant when doing so. I do not dry by hanging for several reasons. I have pets, live in the country where dust and insects abound, and use my dried herbs for medicines so I limit what can contaminate my end products.
Step 1: Gather freshly opened blooms. I use a sharp pair of scissors or snips. I also like to leave a little gift for the plant when I harvest and I do not harvest everything from the plant – just what I need. For this lovely bush, I cleared all the potentially choking vines which had wound around her and spoke sweetly, thanking her for her flowers. Whether you believe in this kind of exchange or not, I find that having an attitude of gratefulness is at least helpful to my outlook. 🙂
Step 2: Lay out the fresh flowers stems up for a time. I like to think it gives an opportunity for all the little bugs to crawl out. I also will rinse them in cool water to help the creatures along as well and remove dirt from the blooms. (But for these because I would not be selling them, I simply let them rest.) After a time, I will snip the base of the bloom to release the petals.
Step 3: While waiting on the petals, prepare the dehydrator. I try and clean it after every use, running the trays through the dishwasher. But it always helps to double check before using again to avoid cross contamination of different herbs.
Step 4: Arrange the petals on each tray. I don’t worry too much about touching because as they dry they will shrink a good bit.They tend to separate or can be gently pulled apart. Plants can be up to 90% water so taking out the moisture decreases their size a good bit.
Step 5: Stack trays, cover the top one and turn on the dehydrator. I do keep a watch, checking on them every half hour or so, depending if I get caught up in another project or chore. I have dried herbs to a crisp before which is what you do not want. The more delicate the lower the heat if you can adjust the temperature on your dehydrator.
Step 6: Let the dried petals cool and then place them in a glass container. A dark one would be better if you have it. They may fade as they cool and if they are exposed to sunlight.
Rose Petal Tea:
1-2 teaspoons dried rose petals*
6-8 ounces of water
Honey and lemon to taste, if desired. Place petals in an infuser or directly into a cup. Heat water to almost a boil. Pour water over petals and cover the cup. Let steep for 5-10 minutes. Remove infuser or strain out petals. Sit with your feet up and enjoy.
*please make sure that these petals are pesticide free. I would not use the bouquet of roses that you received on Valentine’s Day unless you absolutely know from where they were harvested.
Thanks for stopping in and for reading about how to dry your own roses. You can purchased already dried rose petals at our booth at The Markets of Hanover or here through this website. I hope you found this helpful and please remember that this information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.