Fresh flowers are a fleeting pleasure, but you can preserve the beauty and fragrance of rose petals to enjoy later. Rose petals are used in potpourri and other craft projects, and can also be added to teas for a sensual, flowery flavor. Only use roses that have not been treated with any pesticides or other chemicals when you are using the petals for culinary purposes. All types of roses, including roses from the florist, can be used for potpourri.
Pick your roses in the late morning, after the dew has dried, but before the heat of the day has set in. Choose roses that are in full bloom and are free of insect damage.
Line a baking sheet with a single layer of paper towels. To preserve the purity of the rose petals, use a paper towel that does not have any added color or fragrances.
Pluck the petals off of the rose. If you want whole rose petals, pull them off carefully one by one so that you do not tear the petals.
Spread the rose petals over the paper towel in a single layer. Allow plenty of room for air circulation, or else mold may set in.
Place the tray in a dark location, such as a closet or basement. Direct sunlight will cause the color of the rose petals to fade. If your drying location is dusty or dirty, cover the rose petals with another layer of paper towels to keep them clean.
Check on the rose petals every day. Turn the petals over every day or two so that they dry evenly and do not stick to the paper towel.
Remove any moldy rose petals immediately and change the paper towel to prevent the spread of mold.
Transfer the rose petals to an airtight container or use in potpourri or tea when they are completely dry and crisp. The drying process will usually take between one and two weeks.