Sweetly-scented rose geranium makes a delicate cream and a soothing tea. It’s growing somewhere near you.
Peaches, melons, apricots, plums. All in season right now in the Middle East, all sweet and juicy. Cream infused with rose-like pelargonium graveolens makes a delicious background for any of those summer fruits.
I pick a few sprigs of rose geranium from a public garden set well away from traffic pollution. The flowers, I put into arak to make an ethereal rose geranium liqueur. When it’s ready, I strain it into a recycled wine bottle. But there are other ways to use the unique, sweet flavor of edible geraniums.
For an alcohol-free, soothing cold drink, I’ll brew rose geranium leaves as tea. Children especially like this mildly candy-flavored tea. Just pour boiling water over 5 or 6 large rinsed and chopped leaves, cover, and let it steep about 10 minutes. Sweeten as desired, remove the chopped leaves, and drink hot or cold. If you collected oatstraw in spring, you can flavor oatstraw tea with these leaves, too.
And it’s simple to make geranium-infused cream for those summer fruits. In a small pan, heat 2 rose geranium leaves with 1 cup of whipping cream and 4 tablespoons of sugar. Don’t let it simmer or boil, just let it get hot over low heat. This should take only 5 minutes if the cream was at room temperature.
Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of cream cheese. Cover. When it’s all cool, put it away in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, the cream will be thick and fragrant. Transfer it to a bowl and set a bowl full of sliced fruit next to it for dipping. Or pour the cream over sliced fruit in individual bowls. Surprisingly, watermelon matches this delicate cream perfectly.
More innocent and milky Middle-Eastern recipes on Green Prophet:
Photos of peaches and geranium cream, top, and of rose geranium by Miriam Kresh