This is one of my favourite quote on Rose -
“The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose” - Hada Bejar.
Rose 🌹 - rightly called as queen of flowers is a symbol of love, compassion and beauty.
Nature is intelligent and it rightly knows the best time to give its bounty! Roses have started blooming with the onset of summer in Australia. Energetically, in Ayurveda rose flowers are sweet/cooling and is an astringent. It naturally cools down the body (precaution: If you are Kapha body type please use rose internally in moderation). The fragrance from rose is just enough to calm our mind and keep us emotionally grounded.
The fragrance of roses in the garden is intoxicating this time of the year. I normally pluck only 1/3rd from the plant for various uses and leave the rest for beneficial insects. I like to use the petals to make Gulkand (sweet preserve made from rose petals) or to make fragrant pot pourri sachets.
Rose Petal preserve or ‘Gulkand’ is such an easy straightforward recipe to make. The fragrance and flavour of Gulkand is enhanced if you specially use Damask variety of rose. Use the rose petals from your garden only if grown organically without spraying any insecticide or pesticides.
I have used the scarlet red coloured and pink coloured roses (Rose Damask) from my garden to make my Gulkand recipe. Wash the rose petals gently under cold running water, pat it dry with tea towel or allow it to dry in indirect sunlight. Please do not place it in direct sunlight. For this recipe, you need 2 cups of roughly chopped rose petals.
It is believed that Gulqand (Gul - flower, Qand - sweet in Arabic) originated around 900 BC in Indo- Persia and have spread to other parts of the world.
Rose is an important Ayurvedic herb. It is used internally and also externally. When used internally it acts like Alterative (restore the proper function of the body and increase health and vitality) ; Nervine (calming support for the nervous system) ; laxative ;astringent and carminative.
If you have naturally high ‘pitta’ type body - rose helps to bring a balance by cooling your body. This is specially beneficial if you suffer from acne, burning sensation, difficulty in sleeping, constipation.
Normally Gulkand is made by combining washed and dried fresh damask rose petals and unprocessed sugar in a clean glass jar with lid closed and left it in a place that gets indirect sunlight for a month or so and stirred occasionally. The end result is Gulkand.
But you can make Gulkand using double boiler method over a stove top on a low flame.
I have used mix of carefully selected Ayurvedic ingredients and some common kitchen spices in my Gulkand recipe to make it more potent and beneficial to the body.
Ashwaganda powder ( 1/2 tsp) : One of the important and prized Ayurvedic herb, Ashwaganda in Sanskrit means “the smell of a horse” hinting it has the ability to impart energy and strength. It is a tonic, adaptogenic and rejuvenating herb. Ashwaganda helps to boost our immunity! Ashwaganda is naturally rich in Iron and if you suffer from Iron deficiency and if you follow only plant based diet, consider incorporating Ashwaganda powder mixed with plant based milk/ smoothie or cereal. Ashwaganda gives vitality and strength. It is best combined with black pepper or ginger. I used organic Ashwaganda powder by ceres organics.
Fennel (dry roasted and crushed in a mortar and pestle - 1 tsp ) : One of the commonly used spice in Indian kitchen, fennel has much more medicinal properties than we know. Fennel strengthens Agni and reduce ama in the body. Agni helps in better digestion and removal of toxins of various kinds in the body. It is not only a mouth freshener, but is an excellent digestive stimulant and relieves flatulence and colic in infants. Lactating mothers can especially benefit from chewing on fennel seeds or having it as an infusion to increase milk production which also indirectly relieve colic in infants. Surprisingly fennel has 20% protein content! Rose and fennel are match made in heaven! The Agni in fennel balance the Kapha quality from Rose!
Cardamom powder (1/2 tsp) : Cardamom imparts sweet flavour to Gulkand. It is one of the best and safest digestive stimulant. It also helps to reduce cold and cough as it is an expectorant. Cardamom has Sattvic quality and helps in the flow of prana in the body- Life force.
Tasmanian dried mountain pepper berry (1/4 tsp) : Mountain pepper has been used by Indigenous Australians as a bush medicine for 1000s of years. High in anti-inflammatory properties, it helps to relieve joint pains and relax the muscles Mountain pepper berries are a rich source of folate, zinc, magnesium and antioxidant.
Saffron ( a pinch of powdered saffron) : Saffron is a well known fragrant spice used predominantly in sweet dishes. It imparts a rich flavour and is a very calming spice. It reduces pitta in the body and helps to catalyst the tonic action of other herbs. Saffron helps to assimilate nutrients into deeper tissue. It is sattvic in quality and helps in promoting feelings of love and devotion.
Pistachios (chopped - 2 tbsp) : Raw pistachios are naturally high in potassium, magnesium and lutein. Potassium helps to have a good cardio health, Magnesium helps in relieving joint pains and helps to promote good sleep Lutein protect eyes and boost immunity.
Palm Sugar candy ( powdered - 1 cup) : Palm sugar candy is known as ‘panakarkandu’ in my native language Tamizh. It is made from the sap of the palm tree found in the flowers by boiling it until it turns into syrup and then allowed to cool. Then it is made into crystals of different sizes and shapes. Panakarkandu when mixed with warm milk helps in mitigating dry and raspy cough and helps to sooth any throat pain. If you are a singer, you will benefit by having panakarkandu mixed with warm milk. It is naturally rich in iron and the natural enzymes in palm sugar activates digestion and helps in cleansing intestinal tracts. Palm sugar candy are high in iron too.
- Pluck full bloom roses early in the morning when they are fresh and are more fragrant.
- Seperate the petals from the stem( I had to check for insects), wash them under cold water and allow it to dry (don’t place it in direct sun). Alternatively dab it dry with a clean tea towel.
- Roughly chop the rose petals. We need 2 cups of chopped rose petals for this recipe.
- Using double boiler method, on a low flame mix 2 cups of rose petals and 1 cup of crushed palm sugar candy in a double bottom stainless pan. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes until sugar becomes a syrup. Do not over cook. Keep mixing the mixture. Add juice of half a lemon when cooking to preserve the colour of the roses. The roses I used lost its colour though.
- Switch off the flame and add other ingredients after Gulkand has cooled down at room temperature. Mix it well again.
- This recipe will yield 1 cup of Gulkand. Once cooled down completely, store it in a glass air tight jar and store it in the refrigerator for not more than 10 days.
Notes on having Gulkand:
- Gulkand is an Ayurvedic recipe so it is advisable to have 1 tbsp daily.
- Have it after a meal especially with warm milk to promote good sleep and to relieve constipation.
- As a mouth freshener: Gulkand is a natural mouth freshener and in India, it is one of the ingredients in meeta paan.
- You can add it to ice cream, milk shake, smoothie or as a spread on bread toast.
- Children will benefit from having 1 tbsp of Gulkand with warm milk because of the benefits I have mentioned in my post.
- During a hot summer day, have 1 tbsp of Gulkand to cool down your body naturally.
- If you are Diabetic or pregnant, avoid eating Gulkund daily.
I hope you enjoy making Ayurvedic inspired sweet preserve/ Gulkand using rose petals from your garden.
We have so much traditional wisdom in our culture and it is important that we value those wisdom, learn from it and importantly share it forward for the next generation to learn and preserve. Our culture and traditions are preserved only when we create it ourselves and pass it on. 🙏.
My sincere wish is that our current and future generation likewise value the wisdom of our ancestors, learn from it and carry it forward.
Thanks for stopping by!
- The Yoga of Herbs - An Ayurvedic guide to herbal medicine by Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant Lad.
- Australian bush superfood - Lily Alice and Thomas O’Quinn.