Roses are fast becoming our favourite edible flower at Maddocks Farm Organics and the one we are most commonly associated with. Roses are a quintessentially British favourite with gardeners and florists alike and are having a resurgence in popularity in the kitchen the like of which hasn’t been seen since Victorian times.
They are a big hit with all our customers whether they’re brides, caterers, top London chefs or cocktail aficionados. We have even been asked to courier our roses to a chef in Hong Kong for a banquet. Having used them in London he said he couldn’t get anything comparable elsewhere in the world.
Cooking with roses
Over the past couple of years we have invested vast amounts of time and money into researching the best types of roses for culinary use. Varieties of damask roses -traditionally grown in Burgaria, Persia and India for making rose water do not grow well in our British climate where there is not ‘always’ the summer heat to produce the intense perfume. Whilst we are not prepared to compromised on either fragrance or flavour of our roses we also needed to seek professional advice on the best varieties of rose that were suitable for the challenges of organic growing.
We only grow British roses. We’ve worked closely with the UK’s leading rose growers and with organic laboratories to test a range of organic rose petals for perfume and ‘flavour’. Who would have thought there were so many flavour notes in roses! It’s been very like wine tasting – ‘too much lemon here.. too little musk there… not enough depth behind”! The flavours also change depending upon the time of year and the weather which is a little beyond our control.
Finally we are happy that our edible roses are second to none in terms of culinary excellence and even have specific beds of different ‘flavoured’ roses growing for different customers whether it be for making jams, chocolates, cordials or even gin (oh yeah!). Our roses feature in many of our own recipes which are detailed in our blog here and there are loads more on our ROSE pinterest board here.
Edible Roses For Cakes
We grow more than 30 different varieties of organic edible roses for use on Wedding and other celebration cakes. All are certified organic by the Soil Association; all are highly perfumed and superbly flavoured; and they come in a whole spectrum of colours and sizes to suit every wish – big and blowsy; sophisticated and delicate; or wild and natural.
Roses are stunning on cakes either whole, as fresh petals or crystallised. This can be as simple and elegant as a few fragrant rose petals or as complex as a mult-tiered masterpiece. Whole they can be purchased from us here.
It cannot be emphasised enough that you must not use commercially grown roses either for culinary use or to decorate cakes. These are sprayed with a cocktail of pesticides and fungicides to prolong their vase life (see here more information) and chemicals are heavily used on roses in particular. Only buy from a reputable organic source or use from your own or friends’ gardens as long as you are certain that they have not been sprayed.
Fresh Edible Rose Petals
Whilst rose petals might well make a fabulous cake decorations – both fresh and crystallised they are also superb floating in cocktails, in salads and a host of other culinary treats. Frances Bissell’s new book The Floral Baker (available here) has a stunning recipe for strawberry, rose petal and white chocolate tart. Bliss. You can buy our seasonal organic edible rose petal here.
All our roses are picked early in the day, packed up and sent to you by overnight courier so that they are with you just hours from being in the field.
Edible Roses Growing at Maddocks Farm Organics
Growing Organic Roses
Whilst the height of summer is when the roses are making all the effort, behind the scenes here at Maddocks Farm our efforts go unheeded in the winter.
It is during the cold months that we mulch our roses with organic compost and manure. This ensures that they have adequate food for them to grow healthily – roses are very greedy feeders. It also acts as a blanket mulch both to suppress weeds and to keep the roots of the roses damp during the hot summer months. Roses hate to dry out. We work out on average that when we plant a new rose it gets 1/3 barrow of our own organic compost underneath it and then 1/3 barrow of manure on top as mulch. We remulch with manure every year.
We then prune heavily in January ready for a new year.
We underplant our roses with companion plants to bring the much needed hoverflies and ladybirds that will organically tackle any aphids. We NEVER spray.
What people say about our edible roses…..
I just could not believe the wonderful scent when I opened the carton of roses and petals on Saturday morning. Absolutely and unbelievably beautiful – Helen
I wanted to say a big thank you for all your help and recommendations for the flowers for my wedding cake! The colours you sent through were lovely and I took your advice of making the rose sugar. The fragrance was wonderful and the rose worked really well with the rose/pistachio base – Charlotte
Thank you for so much for the flowers, they’re stunning and smell amazing! – Celeste
I just wanted to say thank you for the roses. The bride has now taken the flowers off the cake and they are floating in see-through vases in her bedroom and they still look great and smell divine – Mylene
Everyone could not believe the scent of the roses you sent me last August!! I have honestly never sniffed rose aroma like it!! – Caroline.