Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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Touch your cheek to the cheek of sugar.
Get the taste of it. Give perfume to it.
Try to alleviate the pain of separation
With the help of sugar.
Once you become the conserve of roses,
You are food for the Soul,
Light for the eyes...
When I say "conserve of roses,"
I mean the Grace of God and our existence.
Rose Petal Jam
Total time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Processing: 20 minutes
12 cups rose petals
4 cups sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice

Fragrant red and pink old-fashioned double roses (rugosas, floribundas, Old English, damask, and so on) make the tastiest jam. Pick roses in the late morning, after the dew has dried, and before the sun has reached its height. Grasp the entire flower by the tips of the petals and pull it completely off its base. Using scissors, trim off the white section at the base of the petals. (Doing this immediately upon picking the rose allows you to trim a whole flower's worth of petals all at once.) Place the petals in a deep bowl. As soon as you have finished gathering petals, pick over them carefully to remove any insects. Cover them with cold water and drain them; repeat this process several times, until you have removed all dirt, pollen and other debris from the petals. Chop the petals coarsely and place them in a wide, deep pot.

Pour sugar and lemon juice over the chopped rose petals and stir well. Stirring frequently, bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Clip a jelly thermometer to the side of the pan; make sure that the bulb does not quite touch the bottom of the pan, but is well immersed in the mixture. Continue to cook and stir until the jam reaches 221F, or until a spoonful dropped onto a cold plate jells and holds its shape.

Ladle the jam into 4 oz., 8 oz. or 12 oz. canning jars sterilized in boiling water, cap with sterilized canning lids and rings, and refrigerate. If you wish to store the jam without refrigeration, process the jars in a boiling water bath. Put filled, covered jars in a large kettle with a rack on the bottom, covered by at least 1" of boiling water; once the water returns to a boil, continue to boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from water and, without tightening the lids, allow them to cool and to form a vacuum seal, signaled by a popping sound as hot air escapes and the lids snap down.