Spring and the Persian new year is just a few days away; that, plus the company of good friends at Persian Food Bloggers ( #Persianfoodbloggers #PFBNowruz) give sufficient motivation to post again! Consider my reflection on Rose gardens and rose tea, a trip on memory line rather than a tea recipe, as I am sure everyone knows how to make tea 🙂
Meymand is a village close to my old hometown Shiraz in Iran’s southern province of Fars; it is well-known for its rose gardens and rose-water produce. The roses blossom around April when Rose Festival is held. This is also the time when the main bulk of rose flowers are picked and prepared either for distillation or to be dried for culinary and medicinal purposes. The rose gardens remain well and yielding till the end of the summer, providing an ongoing source of rose flower extract , called golaab in Persian.
Rose flowers are picked in mass from the village gardens on daily basis at dawn, when the petals were still heavy with dew and rich with fragrance. The essence of this fragrant flower, golaab, is used in perfumery as well as in Persian cuisine namely for making jams, sweets and other desserts.
The main bulk of rose petals and rose buds find their way to gigantic copper pots and distilled in traditional way to produce rosewater. A smaller portion is dried and sold at spice shops for a variety of culinary and herbal medicine purposes. Both rose water and dried rose are believed to have wonderful healing properties; specifically they are used in traditional herbal medicine as skin cleaner and lightener, as a mild tranquilizer, immune system booster , and as a mood enchanter.
Perhaps the most common use for dried rose is in making tea; I could tell you from experience drinking a small cup of warm and mildly aromatic pink rose tea has definitely an immediate enchanting effect regardless of whether you believe in miracles of herbal medicine or not!
To make rose tea, you could use fresh petals, if you know for sure that they are pesticide free, or you could go with dried rose petals – again making sure you purchase from a reputable supplier. Most Middle Easter store carry dried rose petals and buds. I received mine handpicked from Meymand and even though they are dried they are still heavily and heavenly scented.
Dried Rose Tea
Here is how I make my rose tea Persian style (for two cups): bring to boil about 4 cups of water. Place 1 tbsp dried rose petals in a teapot. Cover dried tea with 2 cups of boil water. Turn the heat down under the kettle and remove its lid. Sit the teapot on top of the kettle for about five minutes. The idea here is to let tea seep without boiling it or without letting it go cool. The flavour comes out with hot water, no need to wait too long. After a few minutes, once the rose petals get pale strain into tea cups. I like to sip my rose tea with saffron rock candy. You could sweeten your tea with raw honey if you desire.
Dried rose is also used as a blend – with green tea. The mixture doubles the health benefits and enhances the taste a bit. To give it a try, mix 1/2 tbsp. green tea and 1/2 tbsp. dried rose and follow the procedure above.
Please go to the following wonderful links from my Persian Food Bloggers for #Norooz1396 or #Norooz2017. Have a wonderful Spring; Happy Norooz!!
Parisa’s Kitchen: Pichagh-Gheimeh
Coco in the Kitchen: Yakh dar Behesht
Lab Noon: Herby Pilaf and Turmeric Fried Fish (Sabzi Polo ba Mahi)