Drying Roses on the Kitchen Table

Drying Roses on the Kitchen Table

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Dana Velden
Jun 26, 2015
(Image credit: Dana Velden)

It's early summer and the roses in my yard are in riotous, glorious bloom — almost surreal in their scent and color. The other day the lusty, deep-pink ones were at their absolute peak; when I touched them the petals just fell away. So I brought a few handfuls into the house and left them to dry on my kitchen table, spread out on a plate. No fussy prep here, just a scattering of petals and the gentle summertime air. And time.

When I pass by the table, their bright color snags my attention and I go over to shake the plate a little. Their scent is still powerful, almost mesmerizing, and I immediately begin dreaming of scattering roses over baked chicken or stirring them into rice. The rose petals are not sustenance by any measure; at best they are a subtle flavoring, a garnish. But their beauty is potent, concentrated, complete — it fills me up in places I didn't know needed filling.

It can be this simple in the kitchen sometimes, the effort this small: a handful of rose petals left out on the table to dry. The impulse to do this is born of appreciation and responsiveness. There's a desire to anchor a moment just long enough so I can really take it in, so I can breathe deep of it and find a sweet, uncomplicated kind of contentment. So that I can remember that once in a while, it really can can be this easy.

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Things to do with dried (organic) rose petals: fold into yogurt, decorate a cake, garnish a salad. Add to a cup of green tea or make a tisane with dried orange and a little anise hyssop. Use in a spice blend for lamb, along with cinnamon and cardamom. Sprinkle over ice cream or rice pudding or strawberry jam. Also pairs well with pistachios and walnuts to sprinkle over almost anything.
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