I am so happy that it’s rose season again. There isn’t much to dislike about a rose, they’re one of my (many) favourite flowers, and the showier, the pinker, and the more fragrant the better! Last summer I wrote a post just about how much I love them and was enjoying cutting them from the garden, and rescuing them from the rain storms that seem to be a common feature this June. This year I started to think about what else I could use them for, and decided to start with rose water.
The day I made my rosewater, we were again in the midst of a summer storm, so I went out and rescued these lovely flowers from the rain. Unfortunately the storm had been raging all night, so I was a little late, and ended up with quite a small harvest this time. I may have been found hanging out of the bedroom window to cut some of the climbing rose that is at the front of the house to make up the number of rose petals I needed!
I wanted to make my rose water in the traditional way – to end up with a rose hydrosol. Hydrosols are pure flower waters which are made by distilling fresh leaves and flowers. They have similar properties to essential oils but are much less concentrated – and are also easy to make at home using items that you’re likely to have in your kitchen cupboards.
You will need..
A large saucepan with a lid
A glass bowl
Some water – I used bottled mineral water
Some ice cubes in a sealable bag
A glass bottle with a spray top for your finished product
Firstly, place your ramekin inside the pan, then put the glass bowl on top. Then put as many fresh rose petals as you can into the bottom of the saucepan. If you can find home grown, fragrant, roses, these are the best to use as they are less likely to have been sprayed with pesticides. The more fragrant the rose, the more beneficial properties it will have too.
Next, pour the mineral water into the saucepan, enough to cover the rose petals.
The glass bowl will collect your hydrosol. It is important that it is raised up using the ramekin as it will collect the condensation – which will be the hydrosol, so it needs to be kept separate from the water that you have added to the petals.
Put the lid onto the saucepan upside-down. This is so the condensation can run down the top of the lid and collect in the bowl.
Put you sealed bag of ice cubes onto the top of the saucepan lid. My ice cubes had cherry blossom in them from earlier in the season for another project, but they didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted, so I re-used them for this one!
Pop the saucepan onto the hob and turn onto a medium heat. As the water heats up, the steam will rise to the top of the pan, cool down as it meets the ice and drip down into the glass bowl. I kept my pot on the heat for about 45 minutes.
When the rose petals have lost their colour, leave your hydrosol to cool, and then decant into your glass bottle. I got about 100ml of hydrosol from the few flowers that I had.
Rosewater is very delicate, so if you can get a dark coloured glass bottle that will help preserve it for longer. Due to it’s delicate nature, it will last for just a couple of months. Keep it in a cool, dark place.
There are so many things that your rose hydrosol is useful for. It would be lovely kept in the fridge to use as a refreshing face mist on warm days. Not only does it smell beautiful but it also helps to freshen, hydrate and soothe your skin.
Rosewater also makes a great skin toner, especially for dry or older skin. I’m going to use mine on some cotton wool as a gentle cleanser for days when I don’t wear make-up (which is most of them!)
Of course, there are so many other things you could make using this process. How about making a mint hydrosol using fresh mint leaves? It would make a lovely cooling foot spray for hot, tired feet! I’m looking forward to making some more.
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