Rose Geranium

Rose Geranium – Pelargonium graveolens is a useful plant to have for occasional flavoursome use in a wide range of foods. It has a strong rose petal or rose oil like scent and can be added to any dishes that would use rose oil. The scent is primarily located in the leaves but the flowers have a slight back flavour too.

My favourite use is placing a leaf in the bottom of a small muffin or tea cake to let it infuse as it cooks and then inverting it for eating after cooking so the leaf is prominent on the surface.

The leaves also make an excellent flavouring for icecream.

The flowers make excellent lightly flavoured decorative edible additions to all sorts of dishes. They especially go well with food items that have a prominent citrus or rose flavour already like Turkish Delight and lemon curd tarts etc.

Other varieties which I grow and have found very useful for flavouring are a Rose-Citrus, Lime-lemon-citrus and a full lime citrus variety called ‘Citrus Fizz’.

They are very hardy plants and grow ferociously as long as they get full sun and plenty of water when growing to make the leaves more ‘plump’. They are real survivors though and are a plant I would not hesitate to put in a rock hard dry or sandy almost xerophyte environment that would be growing other similar hardy plants like lavender and rosemary.

There is very little else to growing these plants aside from giving them lots of space and reduced competition.

To get the best flavour out of them they need some summer heat to really get their oil levels high. The leaves should be picked like many other oil rich plants just before or around the middle of the day to make sure the oil had moved to the surface and higher sections of the plant and that the small flowers have fully opened.

Once picked the leaves and flowers should last in a sealed container or bag for up to two weeks.

They can easily be propagated by breaking a leaf or piece of stem off any time it is in growth and potting it up for a while.