We’re into the season for colds, flu and just blah. In period, a variety of drinks and foods were laid out to help with these maladies. Nyguil is a few centuries from being invented yet so you had to go with what was on hand. Some people discovered that roses could be made into food and drink. Here is one recipe that uses a syrup made of roses that helps to fortify. (Single malt scotch really wasn’t an option here.)
Syrup of Dried Roses
Take a ratl of dried roses, and cover with three ratls of boiling water, for a night and leave it until they fall apart in the water. Press it and clarify it, take the clear part and add it to two ratls of white sugar, and cook all this until it is in the form of a syrup. Drink an uqiya and a half of this with three of water its benefits: it binds the constitution, and benefits at the start of dropsy, fortifies the other internal organs, and provokes the appetite, God willing. (Anonymouse Andalusian Cookbook, pp. A-73)
3 C rose petals
5 C water
6 C white sugar
For this redaction a little rose history is needed. The information gathered for actual historic types of roses is rather thin. So The rose petals used are actual rose petals from Pakistani. The likely hood is high that these roses petals are from a Damasks type of rose. There are two types of Damasks, summer and autumn. These two differentiated by their bloom times. One in summer and one in autumn.
A ratl = 1 lb. 1lb of rose petals is a LOT of rose petals.
As a reference the bag is 4 ounces of roses. That’s about 6 cups of dried rose petals there. That’s a lot…a lot! of rose petals.
So due to the lack of space for so many rose petals, I have changed the measurements for some thing a little more reasonable for the cooking pots I have on hand.
First I boiled 5 cups of water, then poured this over the 3 cups of rose petals (roughly 2 – 3 oz).
The water and roses sat over night imparting a wonderful smell through out the house. Mmm…roses that aren’t cloying!
To remove the rose water, I hand squeezed balls of the rose petals to get every drop of moisture.
Now I could have placed a muslin cloth over another bowl and drained the water out that way then squeezed the cloth tightly. This was just more fun and I had some really cool pictures of rose balls that formed after all the squeeeeeezing was done. I used my squeeeeezing arm dontcha know.
This is what fresh rose water looks like. Almost like a bowl of blood. It’s not. The smell is incredible. Rose with out being cloying. DO NOT DRINK THIS!! This is incredibly astringent!! If sugar were not added to this liquid no one, unless knocking on deaths door, would be able to choke this down. Yes, it is that bad!
The rose scented/flavored water returned is roughly 4 cups. This was then placed into a pot, to which I added 6 cups of sugar.
The mixture was boiled till a thick syrupy consistency was achieved.
At this point the syrup is ready to be bottled and served. To serve the ratio is 1 part syrup to 2 parts water. The syrup is very astringent. You’ll want to cut the taste with water. If the syrup is to astringent add more sugar. In period sugar was used medicinally as a digestive stimulant, not an every day in every food imaginable additive. So if the syrup needs a little help, add a bit of sugar. It helps!!