You probably know roses for their beautiful flowers that liven up the garden and send messages of love. But did you know these plants are also edible? That’s right! People have eaten roses for years due to their floral aroma and health-boosting properties. Stay with us to learn how to select the best types of edible roses and use them in the kitchen.
Edible Rose Basics
All types of roses are edible as long as they have not been sprayed with harmful chemicals. You can use rose petals, rose buds, and rose hips in teas, syrups, and jams, and enjoy rose leaves as a tea.
Best Types of Edible Roses
All types of roses are edible, and the flavor is similar throughout species and varieties. However, some roses produce more fragrant flowers or larger rose hips. And it goes without saying that varieties that produce more flowers will provide more buds and petals to harvest.
If you’re looking for roses with a powerful floral aroma, which will translate into a stronger floral taste, let your nose guide the way. Or, you can look for some of the following highly fragrant rose varieties:
|Edibility & Common Usage:
|Petals used in salads, jams, and desserts
|Pale lemon, white
|Petals used in teas, ice creams, and jellies
|Cream with red edges
|Petals infused in beverages or garnishing
|Petals used in syrups, baking, and jellies
|Petals in desserts or candied for decorations
|Madame Alfred Carriere
|Petals used in desserts and infused oils
|Petals for teas, desserts, and garnishing
|Petals in jams, drinks, and desserts
|Petals in ice creams, salads, and as garnish
|White, pink to red
|Petals in jellies, teas; hips used for jams, syrups, and tea
If you’re after rose hips, look for species roses (aka wild roses), shrub roses, and some types of old garden roses. That means you can forage rose hips from wild roses or those growing you’ve planted in your garden.
I’ve included some of my favorite species and varieties that produce great rose hips below.
- Rosa cania
- Rosa ‘Fritz Nobis’
- Rosa moyesii
- Rosa rugosa
- Rosa virginiana
Which Parts of a Rose Plant Are Edible?
Practically every part of a rose plant is edible. You can enjoy the green leaves, make tea from the delicate flowers, and enjoy rose hips after the flowers fade.
While the leaves aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of eating roses, they are edible. However, don’t plant on tossing them with your favorite salad dressing, grabbing a fork, and chowing down. Instead, it’s best to enjoy rose leaves as tea.
Rosebuds occur before rose flowers fully bloom. They’re loaded with the same flavors and benefits of full flowers, but they’re a little less delicate and easier to harvest.
Petals and Flowers
Both individual rose petals, and the whole flower are edible. They impart floral notes that vary in strength depending on the type of rose.
It’s best to harvest the flowers in the morning or evening to avoid wilt.
Rose hips are another name for rose fruits. The hips start out green and eventually turn deep orange or red.
Since rose hips form after flowers mature, avoiding deadheading is important if you want to harvest rose hips. As long as you leave some roses on the plant, you can expect rose hips to appear in the fall.
Benefits of Edible Roses
Roses not only offer a pleasant aroma and flavor, but they also provide a slew of health benefits.
A research study that investigated the antioxidant content of 12 different rose cultivars found that all teas were rich in antioxidants. They were especially rich in the gallic acid, which has shown to be antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antineoplastic.
How to Prepare Edible Roses
Once you have your roses in hand, you may have a difficult time deciding how to prepare them. That’s because roses lend themselves well to preparations such as tea, jelly, syrup, and more.
All parts of roses can be used to make tea. And since you can use either fresh or dried petals or leaves, tea is one of the easiest ways to consume roses.
Start by obtaining rosebuds, rose leaves, rose petals, rose hips, or a combination of these items. Pour boiling water over the items, allow to steep for 5–15 minutes, strain, and enjoy.
You can also use rose buds, rose petals, and/or rose hips to make a bright, floral jelly. Whether you slather it on a piece of toast or use it to make shortbread bars, rose jelly will add a touch of summer to any dish.
To make rose jelly, you’ll start by making a strong and sweet rose tea. Adding pectin will cause the mixture to congeal, and a touch of lemon juice will help balance out the sweetness.
Want to add rose flavor to cocktails, sodas, or other delights? Then you’ll want to have rose simple syrup on hand.
Start by combining one part water and one part white sugar over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add about half a cup of dried rose buds or petals for every cup of water and allow to steep until the mixture is cool.
Stain the roses out of the syrup and store the mixture in the refrigerator.
You can also use rose petals to decorate cakes, salads, cookies and more. The petals are edible, but they’re best used as garnishes since they can have an overpowering flavor.
How to Store Edible Roses
You should store fresh rose leaves and flowers just as you would cut flowers. That means putting the ends of the stems in clean water and storing them somewhere cool and out of direct light.
If your roses are dried, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Where to Buy Edible Roses
Since all roses are edible, you can eat pretty much any rose bouquet. However, since commercial growers often spray their roses with pesticides, you should do your due diligence before chowing down on any old rose bouquet.
If possible, try to buy local roses so that you can ask farmers about their growing practices. Not only will they be able to tell you whether or not the roses were sprayed, but they can also inform you about partially aromatic varieties.
Rose hips can be a bit harder to find. You can try asking flower farmers for them in the fall or source dried rose hips online.
Things to Be Aware Of
Since all types of roses are edible, you don’t have to worry about choosing the wrong type of rose. If you mistake one species of rose for another, you may just be left with lackluster flavor.
However, you should avoid harvesting roses that have been sprayed with harmful pesticides or herbicides. If you’re harvesting wild roses, stay clear of roadsides as well as heavily-trodden areas. Wild forested areas tend to be better options.
Are Roses Safe to Eat?
Yes, all types of roses are safe to eat. You can enjoy the leaves, buds, and flowers as long as the plants haven’t been sprayed with harmful chemicals.
How Do You Prepare Rose Petals for Eating?
You can use both fresh and dried rose petals to make tea, simple syrup, and jelly. Steeping the petals in hot water will help extract the rose flavor and compounds.
What Are the Benefits of Eating Roses?
Roses petals have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, while rose buds provide a healthy dose of vitamin C.
Types of Edible Roses – Wrapping Up
If you have an excess of roses in your garden, try eating the rose leaves, petals, buds, and hips. All types of roses are edible as long as they haven’t been sprayed with harmful chemicals.
For more, see our in-depth guide on whether you’ll see roses bloom in their first year, common causes of yellowing rose leaves, rose deer resistance, how to plant climbing roses, when to fertilize roses, and whether roses are toxic to dogs.