This wild species rose grows everywhere here in the mountains and valley, producing five petaled, fragrant, pink roses and lots of tiny, red rose hips in the fall. It’s name is Rosa Woodsii.
To quickly gather the petals, place all your fingers and thumb around the entire rose and pull together, gently removing all five petals at once.
It is a lovely task to gather enough of these rose petals to make a special something with such as rose kombucha, rose jelly, rose water or rose butter. My very favorite fragrant damask rose is Kazanlik and I was lucky enough to have three of them in my garden one year. I dug them up and drove them over 900 miles when we moved here but they did not survive the goats, sheep, drought and cold. Sad. This is the rose with which attar of roses is made and you will be able to gather an abundance of petals to use for a larger project.
But I try and not let this wild rose harvest get past me and we gathered about a cup of petals this morning for my daughter’s favorite, rose butter.
A few years ago, my daughter and I drove way up into the mountains to gather rose petals and it started raining and then pouring. It was a lovely afternoon and we sheltered ourselves thinking that the rain would stop soon. It finally dawned on me that the drive up is treacherous enough, requiring four-wheeled drive in places even when conditions are dry, and I panicked thinking of what the roads were turning into as a mud slide. I had to act fast and we started back, which has lots of curves and edges of cliffs and steep uphill slopes which were by that time rivers of slippery mud. I thought I could make it up a steep incline, with a cliff on one side, but got stuck halfway up and had to get out and lock the hubs. Slipping and sliding, almost over the cliff several times, we made it up and then down all the way home to a lovely clear sky and freshly watered meadow. Today she says as we are gathering, “remember that time Mama…” I was most gratefully thinking the same thing.
Since I am now extracting cream from Elsa’s milk, one of my Jersey cows, with a cream separator making butter is much quicker and easier. Honestly this is only the second time I have made butter this year, as we are cream hogs for our coffee and I have a cream thief who makes stealth honey-vanilla ice cream. I also spoon the ambrosia on grass fed Jersey steaks and lamb chops. We are looking forward to Annabelle having her calf in a couple of weeks.
In this post on how to make butter with cream skimmed off the top of raw milk jars it takes about 3.5 gallons of raw milk for the cream to make about 20 oz. of raw butter. Today I combined separated cream from three days of milking for approximately cream from 4 gallons of raw milk. Yes, Elsa is cutting back on her production and Faline is drinking more.
Cream from a separator is much thicker than cream skimmed off the top of a jar and will continue to thicken after several days in the refrigerator. Heaven!
I think using the whisk attachment on a mixer is the fastest and best way to make butter. Many people use a blade on a food processor, but that speed and method will incorporate a lot of buttermilk and air in the butter.
It takes about three minutes of whisking thick butter cream to make luscious whipped cream.
Continue whisking and periodically scraping down the sides with your spatula.
After about 5 min you hit the “butter cream stage’ as in authentic butter cream frosting. It is very thick and you could add flavorings at this point for the most amazing butter cream frosting on the planet. I guarantee you that even the finest wedding cake from the finest baker will call their Crisco/Margarine based frosting “butter cream” which is made from Crisco and margarine because of the texture required to hold up.
A few minutes more and your butter cream will begin to dry out and get crumbly.
Then it will begin to break into butter and buttermilk.
I slow the machine down at this point to the lowest setting and continue until the buttermilk really splashes and the butter comes together. I have found that if you skip this step then your butter pieces are very small and grain like and will wastefully fall through your colander and also retain too much buttermilk.
Drain your butter in a colander with a bowl underneath to catch the buttermilk. I collected 8 oz. of buttermilk from one quart of butter cream.
I have a short list of “must haves” if we are looking for real-estate and a few of those items are: good irrigation water rights, no cell phone reception, absolutely no high power lines near, privacy, and a well or spring-fed water supply. I don’t want to be forced to take a gov approved dose of fluoride and all the other things that are put in water “for our own good.” (Another case of never let a google go to waste.)
Even with well water I do have a water filter for drinking/cooking water. Rinse the butter well with filtered water.
Hand check!!! Just in case you forgot to really scrub your hands well, check them now. Make sure to clean well under your nails and cuticles, especially if you are a farmer or gardener (or just a little girl, hint hint.) :) My hands are always a disaster. Knead the butter well with your hands to remove all the buttermilk from the butter which will make your butter sour faster.
Continue changing the filtered water and kneading until water is clear.
Pinch off small amounts of butter and rub under a stream of filtered water and then shake and knead out any excess water, forming into little balls as you do so. You want to remove as much water as possible.
Now add the rose petals. The petals are so fragile and lose fragrance so rapidly that I do not rinse them because they would have to be dried which takes time. I have dehydrated Kazanlik rose petals in the past and the fragrance is not near as heady as the fresh. I have no problem eating fresh rose petals and other wild gathered herbs “right off the vine” and yes I am sure there are probably a few no-see-ums mixed in. I’ll take those anyday over the factory food allotments for “other ingredients.” Yikes! (Full disclosure: I did find a tiny green inch-worm when going throughout the petals carefully and promptly gave it to a mama hen, clucking loudly for her babies to come gobble it up.)
Knead and incorporate the petals into the butter with your fingers, as that really is the only way to mix it. Herbal butters such as lemon thyme, French tarragon, dill… are exquisite as well.
Pack into small jars and store the extra ones in the freezer. Frozen raw butter will last over a year in the freezer.
Perfect for tea time and scones you want to put this rose butter on something that does not have a strong flavor, but I did not have anything like that today. You want the precious rose flavor to shine through.