Give bacon roses to your Valentine this year

It’s Valentine’s Day — the day for declarations of love via monetary displays of affection. Expensive, unless you employ some creativity.

Bacon roses can earn you a very enthusiastic I Love You, and if you factor in prep time, supplies and ingredients, you’re looking at under $5.

When I was a kid there was a rose bush in the pasture near the pig pen. When I asked my grandma about it she told me it was called a pasture rose. I thought she was pointing out the obvious.

A Pasture Rose is a species of wild roses native to Pennsylvania and to the United States. Species roses require no hybridization. They are true “wildflowers.”

In this area, a wild rose is probably a Carolina. It is a soft pink rose with five petals, and a pistil of gold in the center of the single blooms.

When not in bloom, it’s a nondescript, very unremarkable rose bush that provides pollen for bees, nesting places for birds, powerful antioxidants for humans and once a year; a glorious pink feast-for-the-eyes.

If you decide to go exploring for Rosa carolina, don’t mistake the notorious Multiflora rose for the Carolina just because it’s growing wild.

The infamous Multiflora was introduced to North America in the 1800s as a rootstock for grafted roses. It was advertised as a living fence, good for keeping cows out of the corn field, snow off the roads and top-soil on the farm. Today it’s illegal to sell it in Pennsylvania.

The thorns will help you distinguish between a Carolina rose and the Multiflora. Multiflora thorns are thick and recurved, while the thorns of the Rose carolina are fine, sharp and straight.

Provided they haven’t been sprayed with pesticide, both the Carolina and the Multiflora roses are edible. Their petals are used for tea, syrups and salads. Both have a perfume determined by the condition of the soil and the intensity of their color. The Carolina will tease your olfactory senses. The Multiflora will punch you in the nose.

But getting back to the bacon.

Bacon Roses

Ingredients:

12 Slices of bacon

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll each strip of bacon into a spiral. At the bottom of each “rose” secure the shape with two toothpicks to hold the rolled bacon in place. If you’re using a cookie sheet, crisscross the toothpicks so the bacon rose will stand up. Forget the toothpicks if you have a mini-muffin pan that will keep the bacon in a spiral.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until browned and cooked through.

Place the roses on paper towels to drain thoroughly and when the roses have cooled, brush them with maple syrup. Secure the bacon rose to a skewer.

Fill a vase with parsley or any green vegetable you happen to have in the fridge. Artfully arrange the bacon roses in the vase and present your sweetheart with Do It Yourself, Made in America valentines.

Contact Teresa Futrick at esroyllek@hotmail.com

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