Valentine's Day is coming and I'm in the mood for all things roses, but not in the conventional ways...although I always enjoy a simple vase of roses.
Here is a step by step guide to making your own rose water!
Rose water has many benefits that have led people from all over the world to use it for various purposes. I personally like using it as a facial toner, makeup finishing spray, hair mist, linen spray, and even in baking! Rose water has a long culinary history, specifically in Persian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
I was craving some rose water cupcakes, so when I made this batch, I went straight to baking! You can check out my rose water cupcake recipe in my next blog post, here!
First, what is the difference between a hydrosol and infused water?
- Hydrosol or floral waters are produced from the steam that forms when distilling plant materials. Some people make them out of herbs as well. Hydrosols are not as concentrated as essential oils, so they tend to be more gentle on the skin.
- Infused water is simply soaking leaves, fruit, or flowers of a plant or herb in water. It becomes more tea-like if you boil the material in water.
In my personal method for preparing rose water, I obtain both hydrosol and infused water from one batch.
Let's get started!
- Rose petals...from the yard are preferable, but since it's winter and we are in a blizzard, organic store bought roses will work.
- Distilled water
- A pot with a lid (lid doesn't have to be exact size, can be larger than the pot)
- A glass bowl
- One small bottle
- One larger bottle or jar
1) Begin removing petals from a few roses and place into a bowl or container, rinse and drain the petals to make sure they are nice and clean. Fresh roses are ideal.
2) Pour some distilled water into the pot. I added approximately 1 1/2 inches of distilled water to mine. Then pour the roses into the water.
3) Once the roses are floating in the water, clear a little spot in the middle for the bowl.
4) Place the lid on the pot upside down and turn the heat on medium to low.
5) Now the fun! As the water starts to warm up, you will begin to see steam on the lid. Once you see steam, place a gallon sized freezer bag about half full of ice onto the lid. Make sure the water doesn't boil. You just want to let the water simmer. If the water begins to boil, no worries, just turn the heat down. The majority of the time, it should be on low heat.
Steam on the inside of the lid
Place the ice in a bag so it doesn't melt all over the lid. It will be easier to tend to this way.
6) The job of the ice is to turn the steam into condensation which will gather on the under side of the lid, run down to the center, and drip into the bowl in the pot. The liquid that gathers into the bowl is our hydrosol, and the water the rose petals are brewing in is the infused water, or tea!
7) The ice will begin to melt in the bag, so you will need to drain the water out and replace the ice periodically. Again, the water in the pot should not be boiling, and a steady production of condensation should be collecting on the lid and dripping into the bowl in the pot. However long you decide to allow it to distill, will determine how much hydrosol you'll collect. I allowed this batch to cook for two hours, draining melted ice and replacing with new, as needed.
8) After two hours, I saw that there was quite a bit of liquid collected in the bowl inside the pot. I was ready to pour it into my containers.
Remove the bag of ice from the lid and you can really see the condensation!
The petals are more pale and soft after cooking.
9) Using a funnel, I carefully poured the liquid that had gathered in the bowl into a small bottle. I used a pot holder when handling the bowl because it was hot. Take caution when handling the hot liquids and equipment.
10) Place a strainer over a bowl to strain the petals from the infused water, then pour the liquid into the larger container using the funnel.
The clear liquid is the rose hydrosol that came from the condensation, and the pink colored liquid is the rose infused water, or rose tea. The color of the infused water will vary depending on the shade of your roses. The darker the rose, the darker the water. Very pale roses might give a yellow hue, which could be tinted with a little food coloring if you don't care for the yellow.
This will not have a long shelf life without preservatives, so it must be stored in the refrigerator. Many people store their rose water in small spray bottles, which makes it nice for using as a spray. I have a small spray bottle that I add the hydrosol to, along with the small bottle pictured.
There are some natural methods out there for preserving rosewater, like adding vodka, as an example. I plan on using up my rosewater fairly quickly, so I wont be needing to preserve it. Store it in the refrigerator to keep it longer.
That's all there is to it! My next blog post will be for the Valentine's Day rose water cupcakes. In the mean time, my family and I are enjoying them ourselves :)
Until next time...create away!