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Aroma Science

Flavoring for Rose Oils

Rose products are used as a flavoring in many traditional and modern recipes, from the Indian gulkand to rose milk and candied rose petals (source). Rosa damascena petals were often traditionally used in cooking as a flavoring ingredient and spice. One unique use is said to be to cover up the foul smell and taste of spoiled meat. Rose petals are also one of the main ingredients in the Moroccan spice mixture known as Ras el Hanout, used to flavor meat or rice (see the recipe here: source). Rose water and powdered roses are also used in Middle Eastern cooking: rose water is often sprinkled on many meat dishes, while rose powder is added to sauces, yogurts, and other desserts. Finally, rose oil is also used in the flavoring of tobacco along with many other essential oils and aromatic extracts (Arctander, S. (1960) Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin. Artander).

India particularly values the rose for its use in the country’s popular gulkand (gulqand), a sweet preserve made from rose petals. Gulkand is known for its medicinal and Ayurvedic benefits, particularly its cooling properties when consumed during the hot and humid summer days. The most common way to eat gulkand is wrapped in paan leaf with some crushed betel nut, cardamom, and raisins (Creative Flavors, source, 2011). Rose water is also often added to mango lassi, a beverage of yogurt, spices, and mango, in India to add a gentle floral flavor (see the recipe here: source).