Recipes and Uses

As the Victorians discovered way back in the 1800's Scented Geraniums, classified as a herb, have many other uses other than just being ornamental and admired.  If you have any culinary recipes, cosmetic, medicinal, herbal or sensory uses, or for the garden and home in general we would love to hear from you.  We have also included a list of culinary herbs and their uses which are complimentary to each orther, including scented geraniums.
Please scroll down the page to find further recipes:
Garden General
  Scented Geraniums are ideal for planting directly in the garden or for use in containers or hanging baskets.
Home General
The simplest of home room fresheners - place a living plant on a sunny window sill and your room will be filled will the most amazing of natural scents.  You may change the mood of each room by using different varieties and fragrances.
When you prune back your plants place the leaves in bowls, use individual fragrances or experiment and combine 2 or 3.  If you have an excess of leaves place them in a plastic bag and refrigerate and they will keep for a couple of weeks.
Culinary Recipes
 Not all scented geraniums are complimentary to culinary use and are mainly used in sweet dishes.  Most recipes call for either rose, lemon or mint where the leaves are infused and then later discarded before serving.  The leaves are sometimes used as a decorative garnish but it is not advisable to eat them.
Sugar - ideal for sweetening teas or for baking
Rose varieties, in particular, add a delicate but stimulating flavour although other scenteds may be used.
Stack clean, dry leaves in a container between 1" layers of sugar and place in a warm spot for 2 - 4 weeks and then sift out the leaves.  Some cooks recommend the leaves are bruised first to release the aromatic oils to impart a fuller flavour.  The sugar may be substituted for all or part of the plain sugar required in cakes or icing.
Candied leaves - used for decoration only and not to be eaten
Dip small rose or lemon scented leaves in egg white and coat with sugar to create impressive cake decorations.  Let them dry on a rack before using.
Infuse the leaves in boiling water and set asidefor the water to take up the scent.  Remove the leaves and bring the water back up to the boil and make up your jelly as usual.  Imparts a lovely delicate flavour to jellies and apple and rose scenteds are particularly good.
Sponges and Cakes
Place leaves on the bottom of a baking container and pour over the cake mix.  Bake as per recipe.  Remove the leaves before eating.
Fruit Punches
Flavour drinks with the crushed leaves and leave to infuse before removing them.
Use lemon and rose scented geraniums in sweet vinegar receipes.  Add the leaves to the vinegar and store to infuse the flavour.  They combine particularly well with lemon verbena, lemon basil and mints.
Ice Cream and Sorbets
Include leaves in a tub of ice cream or sorbet and leave in the freezer for a couple of weeks.  Remove the leaves before eating.
To impart a subtle flavouring to jams use different varieties depending on the fruit being used:
Clear Apple Jam - American Style
4lbs of cooking apples
3 1/2 cups of water
White or preserving sugar - or use scented sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
15 scented geranium leaves of your choice - nutmeg or rose are good
Chop the apples roughly and discard the skin, pips and stalk.  Place in a large saucepan with the water and simmer until soft.  Strain through a fine sieve or muslin but do not squeeze the pulp through or the jam/jelly will go cloudy - this operation is slow and will take several hours but is worth it.  Measure the resulting liquid into a preserving pan and for every 2 cups retained add 1 pound of sugar, add the lemon juice and the scented geranium leaves.  Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and then boil rapidly until you achieve a set.  To test for a set, place a small amount on a teaspoon and push back with you little finger until it has a crumpled consistency.  Setting takes about 10 minutes.  Quickly remove the leaves and pour into clean sterile jars.  Cover the jars whilst the mixture is hot and ensure a tight seal.
Attar of Roses has been widely used in the perfumery industry for many years and is valued for its subtle fragrance.
Rose Water
 Combine 15 rose scented geraniums with 200ml of purified water and simmer for 15 minutes
Leave to steep for 4 hours and remove the leaves
Add the infusion to 100ml of Pure Rose Water Hydrolate
Stir in 3 drops of Rose geranium essential Oil and 1 teaspoon of Benzoin Tincture
Bottle and label.
(The Benzoin Tincture acts as a preservative and may be omitted if you do not intend to keep the rose geranium water for an extended period.)
Bath sachets - enclose in a fine material and tie and then hang under the tap when filling the bath.
Facial steams - rose scenteds are excellent.  Reputed to have anti-ageing effects on the skin.
Hair rinses - fresh leaves can be infused into water to use as a final hair rinse.
Use with caution if you have sensitive skin as in some people it may cause a mild rash.
Rose geranium is an excellent emotional stimulant and a wonderful mood enhancer.
Combined with sweet almond oil it make a wonderful pick-me-up massage oil.
Herb Partnerships
Are you confused by which herb to use with vegetables or fruits?  We hope the following suggestions help.
  • Peas - mint, basil, fennel, salad burnet
  • Potatoes - apple mint, dill, fennel, chives, parsley, rosemary
  • Carrots - dill, thyme, lovage, parsley, fennel, mint
  • Cabbage - caraway, dill, sage
  • Beans - savory, parsley, fennel, lovage
  • Onion - sage, thyme, garlic, lovage
  • Mushrooms - hyssop, salad burnet, thyme, garlic
  • Tomatoes - chives, basil, pot marigold, oregano, bay, coriander
  • Apricot - hyssop, sweet cicely, dill, caraway, sunflower seeds
  • Apple - sweet cicely, rosemary, ginger mint, scented geraniums, hyssop, lemon verbena, elderberry, caraway, coriander seeds
  • Banana - ginger mint, clove pinks, sweet cicely, lemon geranium
  •  Gooseberries - elderflower, sweet cicely
  • Melon - rosemary, ginger mint, rose, rose geranium
  • Oranges - lavender, lemon geranium, lemon balm, ginger mint
  • Peaches - rose geranium, clove pinks, lemon thyme

More Recipes

Rose Geranium Almond Cookies

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups granulated sugar (can use rose geranium or vanilla flavored sugar)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground mace
1 cup butter (8 ounces)
1 whole egg
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon rose geranium oil concentrate (or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh leaves)
1½ cups finely ground, toasted almonds
2 teaspoons finely ground coriander seed
2 teaspoons minced orange peel

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine dry ingredients with a wire whisk; set aside. Cream butter and sugar together in mixer bowl until fluffy. Add egg and mix well. Add dry ingredients a little at a time, then water and almond extract. Stir in rose geranium oil concentrate or chopped leaves, toasted almonds, coriander seed and orange peel. Mix thoroughly. Roll into small balls (walnut size or smaller), then roll in sugar. Press flat with the bottom of a slightly dampened glass or "pounder." Bake on ungreased cookie sheets at 350°F until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Yield: 75 cookies

Variation: Substitute other nuts for almonds; vary the spice and citrus peel. Toasted pecans, pistachios or walnuts are equally delicious.

Recipe © Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay, The Flavour Connection


Brown Butter Almond Torte with Rose Geranium

½ cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces toasted almonds, natural sliced, slivered or whole (unsalted)
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
1 tablespoon firmly packed chopped fresh rose geranium leaves
6 egg whites, at room temperature
1/3 cup toasted sliced natural almonds
Fresh fruit

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch spring-form pan, or cake pan with removable bottom. Knock out excess flour and set aside pan.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat until golden. Cool to lukewarm; add vanilla extract. Set aside. In a food processor, grind almonds until very fine, along with flour, 2/3 cup of sugar and most of salt. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add remaining sugar and salt, and continue beating until stiff but not dry. Using a rubber spatula, fold egg whites into nut mixture. Add browned butter and chopped fresh rose geranium leaves, mixing well; spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and bake in the middle of oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. Cool for 5 minutes in pan; run a knife around sides to release cake. Unlatch side and carefully remove cake from pan by inverting onto a serving plate. Serve at room temperature with fruit and warm custard or topping of choice.

Yield: 8-12 servings

Recipe © Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay, The Flavour Connection


Lime Curd

2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup butter, cut in small pieces
2 teaspoons finely chopped rose geranium leaves
1 tablespoon lime zest (no white pith)

Mix first five ingredients in electric blender or mixer until smooth. Transfer to a heavy
stainless or ceramic saucepan and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add chopped rose geranium leaves and lime zest.

You may also cook curd in a double boiler. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftover sauce and reheat in a double boiler to serve.

Fold whipped cream into curd to lighten for other purposes.

Yield: 2 cups

Recipe © Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay, The Flavour Connection


Chocolate Rose-Scented Soufflé

'This recipe included rose water but the flavor was not strong enough. Rose syrup is good in this recipe, however cooking down fresh organic rose petals takes longer than the following simple syrup.'

To make rose geranium syrup, combine 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar and about 10 or 12 rose geranium leaves in a small saucepan, bruising the leaves against the side of the pan with a spoon. Place over moderate heat and bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Remove the leaves and squeeze them into the syrup to extract their flavor. This syrup can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or frozen for up to 1 year. You can make other herb-flavored syrups in the same manner. Mint-scented geranium, orange mint, peppermint, spearmint, or anise hyssop would be good in this recipe; use about five 4- or 5-inch sprigs in place of the geranium leaves. 

Serves 6 to 8

½ cup half-and-half cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, broken into pieces
¼ cup sugar
2 pinches salt
5 extra-large eggs, separated
¼ cup rose or rose geranium syrup
Whipping cream
Organic rose geranium flowers, rose petals or candied rose petals

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously butter six 1-cup ramekins or custard cups and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Combine the cream, chocolate, sugar, and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over medium low heat. Whisk the chocolate as it melts to make a smooth mixture. Remove from heat when the chocolate is completely melted.

Beat the 5 yolks, one at a time, into the chocolate mixture. Whisk the rose geranium syrup into the chocolate, 1 tablespoon at a time. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry.

Whisk about a cup of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Then pour the chocolate mixture into the whites and fold until just blended. Pour the mixture into the prepared dishes and bake in the lower half of the oven for 12 minutes, until they are set.

While the soufflés are cooking, whip about ½ cup whipping cream with 1 tablespoon of sugar until almost stiff. Whisk in about 1 tablespoon rose syrup, taste; add a bit more if desired.

Remove the soufflés from the oven. Scatter a few fresh rose petals or rose geranium flowers over the soufflés if you have them, or garnish each soufflé with a candied rose petal. Serve the soufflés immediately and pass the whipping cream. (You have about 5 to 7 minutes to serve the soufflés before they start to deflate.)

If you have leftover soufflés, you can refrigerate them and eat them the next day. Their texture will be denser, but they are still tasty served at cool room temperature.

This recipe is excerpted from Not Just Desserts -- Sweet Herbal Recipes by Susan Belsinger, © 2005.


Pelargonium Liqueur

1 quart loosely packed Pelargonium leaves
1½ cups sugar
¾ cup water
1 liter vodka

Place Pelargonium leaves in a 2 quart jar — lemon-scented or rose-scented types work well. Prepare a syrup by heating and bringing to a boil 1½ cups of sugar in ¾ cup of water, and then allow it to cool to room temperature. Mix the sugar syrup with 1 liter of vodka and pour over the Pelargonium leaves. Place in a dark closet for at least 6 weeks, filter and put into a bottle for use. Will last for months if stored in a cool, dark place.

Recipe © Caroline Amidon and Joyce Brobst


Apple Rose Geranium Jelly

½ cup firmly packed fresh leaves and tender stems of rose geraniums
3 cups frozen apple juice, diluted according to directions, or canned/bottled juice
6 cups sugar
1 package powdered fruit pectin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Whole leaves to pack in finished jelly if desired

Combine fresh or dried rose geranium leaves and part of juice; bring to a boil. Remove from heat and steep at least 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and add remaining juice. If needed, add more juice to yield 3 cups. Place juice in a heavy, large saucepan over high heat; add powdered pectin and bring to a full rolling boil (cannot be stirred down). Add sugar, continue stirring and heat again to full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir and skim off foam quickly. Immediately pour jelly into sterilized containers; a whole leaf may be added, held down with a salad fork until jelly cools slightly. Seal with sterilized lids and process 5 minutes in hot water bath, according to jar manufacturer's instructions.

Use Rose Geranium Jelly as a filling for cake layers; soften and use as a glaze for cakes or sauce for fresh fruit; fill center of small cookies (patisseries) before baking; top cream cheese – spread sweet breads for tea sandwiches. It is excellent served as a condiment with poultry.

Yield: approximately 8 jars, ½ pint each

Recipe © Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay, The Flavour Connection