It is time to look at roses from a whole new perspective! While many people grow roses for sheer beauty of their flowers it’s easy to slip from mind that roses are in fact edible. Actually, they have been grown for their nutritious, medicinal and cosmetic properties for thousands of years. Rose hips are used to make jams and marmalades, while petals are used for teas, salads, different kind of confectioneries, vinegar, sauces and spices. The fact that this ornamental plant is used for food is actually not surprising at all. Rose family (Rosaceae) besides roses includes some of the most economically important fruit plants such as apples, pears, quinces, apricots, plums, cherries, peaches, raspberries, strawberries and almonds, so it’s easy to see how a most popular ornamental plant have found its way to your kitchen. In fact, chemical analyses have shown that some rose cultivars have higher nutritional value than some common fruits and vegetables. They are full of substances beneficial for human health such as vitamin C, antioxidants, sugars, proteins, lipids, tannins, pectin, amino acids and essential oils.
When we started our research and breeding program for Edible roses, we have found that like in all other fruits, some varieties taste better than the others. Before conducting taste panel all our Edible rose candidates were tested for nutrients which later helped us to connect certain compounds to the aroma of rose petals. This led to development of roses with different flavours and textures – from silky sweet to refreshing citrus. Next step was to create perception of Edible roses, a task in which we were assisted by professional chefs from middle and top segment restaurants. This is where more than 100 selected varieties were narrowed down to less than a dozen – proving that only the very special ones are good enough to be called a PGR Edible roses.