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Rose Geranium Leaves
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Rose-scented geranium leaves vary in color, shape and texture depending upon the variety. Leaves are typically multi-lobed, with distinct or curled edges. Most Rose-scented geranium varieties have the thicker, emerald green leaves with a tri-lobed leaf, and a slightly fuzzy texture. Stems are thin but strong and the plant can reach up to 18 inches tall. The best leaves for culinary uses are harvested just as flowers begin to appear, as the plant’s scent is excreted from the oils on the surface of the leaf, not the flower itself.
Rose-scented geranium leaves are available year-round.
Rose-scented geraniums belong to the botanical family Geraniaceae, but are actually members of the Pelargonium species, unrelated to the true geranium. Around 80 scented geranium varieties exist including dozens of Rose-scented geranium varieties. Rose-scented geraniums are the more popular of the scented, and are often Pelargonium capitatum or Pelargonium graveolens. Scented geranium leaves also have non-culinary uses and historically have been used to infuse essential oils, used as natural pest deterrents, and leaves have been dried for potpourri.
The essential oils from Rose-scented geranium are widely used in aromatherapy and skin care. The leaves and the rest of the plant are considered to be astringent and are useful in applications for cracked skin and rashes. In homeopathic practices, Rose-scented geranium is helpful with digestive and endocrine system issues.
In the kitchen scented Geranium leaves are used to infuse flavor into sugars, teas, vinegars, simple syrups, baked goods and jellies. The flavor of the leaves is best when used fresh but they can also be dried, away from sunlight, to preserve fragrance for later use. Store Rose-scented geranium leaves in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Rose-scented geranium has been grown and cultivated in France and Africa for its oil for centuries. The essential oils are extracted from the leaves and used in the perfume and cosmetic industry.
At one time, there were over 250 varieties of scented geraniums. These fragrant plants originated in South Africa and were introduced to Europeans in the 1600s. By the mid-1600s, the Dutch East India Company had established a trade with South Africa for the plants. Plants were taken to Holland and were bred for specific qualities. In the 1700s, scented geraniums were being used in Europe for perfumes, particularly Pelargonium capitatum, which was a good stand-in for true rose. The British even established a plantation in Kenya dedicated to the cultivar. Hybridization during the last century has resulted in a variety of cultivars, from farms and growers, to create the perfect scents for their customers. Scented geranium varieties generally fit into 6 other categories: lemon, mint, fruit & nut, spice, pungent, and oak-leaved.
Recipes that include Rose Geranium Leaves. One is easiest, three is harder.
|The Bojon Gourmet||Tayberry, Rose Geranium + Buttermilk Popsicles|