Sweet, fragrant and easy to make, Gulkand is a traditional Indian mouth freshener that is incredibly addictive.
It is essentially a preserve made using fresh rose petals and a few other pantry staples, and is perfect to make and store too.
Enjoy it on its own or spoon it over your ice-cream or desserts to take them up a notch.
Gulkand is just that- a refreshing and sweet end to the meal, and because I love recreating condiments in my kitchen, I knew I had to try it too!
What's So Great About the Recipe?
Gulkand is traditionally made by first layering the rose petals and sugar in a glass jar, and then allowing it to dry in the sun. This process can take anywhere between 15-30 days, depending on the weather.
Here, I’ve actually ‘cooked’ the petals in sugar and a couple other flavoring agents to make things faster.
My favorite part about this recipe is the fact that I can batch-make and store it for weeks, if not longer!
Ingredients For the Gulkand Recipe
You’ll need just 4 simple ingredients to make Gulkand from scratch.
Fresh rose petals: You’ll need lots of fresh rose petals- ideally all having the same color. Choose bright red if you want the Gulkand to have a deeper color.
Sugar: Sugar will act as the base for the condiment and will balance out the slight bitterness from the rose petals.
Cardamom: I used whole cardamom pods for this recipe, but you could also make do with cardamom powder if that’s what you have at hand. It just lends such a beautiful depth of flavor to the rose petal preserve.
Fennel seeds: I also added a spoonful of fennel seeds to bring a bit of texture to the Gulkand, and also for that beautiful flavor.
See recipe card for quantities.
Also Read: Cucumber Mint Raita
How to Make Gulkand
Ready with all the ingredients? Here’s how to make this sweet preserve, step by step.
Start by separating the rose petals from the flower. Wash them thoroughly.
Pat them dry.
Transfer them to a saucepan along with the other ingredients and cook it on low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring continuously.
Once the sugar starts to melt and the color of the mixture starts to turn lighter, take it off heat and allow it to cool down.
Mix well again while it is still warm, transfer it to a container and serve.
Substitutions & Variations
- I’ve used the classic ratio of 2:1 for the rose petals and sugar for this recipe. If you want to tone down the sweetness, you can reduce the amount of sugar you’re using.
- Want to transform this into a nice rose petal jam? You’ll need about 25g of pectin when you’re using around 2 cups of rose petals.
I used whole rose petals to make Gulkand at home. You can choose to roughly chop them using a knife if you want a better texture.
How to Store the Rose Petal Preserve
Your homemade Gulkand can be stored for up to 2 months at room temperature.
All you’ll need to do is make sure you transfer it to a clean glass container or bottle and use a clean spoon to portion it out.
Make sure you store it in a cool and dark place, away from sunlight.
This mixture doesn’t have any added preservatives - you can choose to refrigerate it if you want it to last longer.
Also Read: Tomato Peanut Chutney
Tips & Tricks to Nail the Recipe
- I would recommend using wild rose petals for this recipe. Avoid using roses that you would get at a florist, as they’re usually treated with chemicals to keep them fresh for a longer time, and they end up making the Gulkand chewy.
- Stick to using petals from home-grown roses. You could use almost any variety.
- I used white sugar for this recipe, because that’s what I had at hand. You could also choose to use organic cane sugar or even honey as the sweetener if you want to.
- Remember that if you’re using any other sweetener, it will affect the taste and color of the Gulkand.
- Want the Gulkand to have a nice pop of color? Add a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice into it while it is still on heat.
How to Serve Gulkand
In India, Gulkand is commonly consumed after meals, as a way to combat acidity and heartburn, thanks to its cooling properties.
You can have a spoonful of it just like that, or spoon it over your scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Another great idea is to mix it into a glass of cold milk and have it in the morning.
Yes, you can use dried rose petals to make Gulkand. You can substitute 1 cup of fresh rose petals for ⅓ cup of dried petals.
Washing the dried rose petals isn’t necessary. You can use them as-is for this recipe.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Gulkand (Rose Petal Preserve)
- 2 cups rose petals
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- Start by separating the rose petals from the flower. Wash them thoroughly.
- Pat them dry.
- Transfer them to a saucepan along with the other ingredients and cook it on low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Once the sugar starts to melt and the color of the mixture starts to turn lighter, take it off heat and allow it to cool down.
- Mix well again while it is still warm, transfer it to a container and serve.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove