Rose water is a deliciously fragrant and versatile botanical made from delicate and seductive rose petals. Store bought rose waters can be overpriced, contain artificial fragrances and lack the freshness of a homemade batch.
Making homemade rose water is easy and fun. Add it to baked goods (try these rose water cupcakes), beverages, and pour it into baths. Use it as a refreshing spritz—perfect to have with you on those warm summer days just ahead, or for those times when you just need to feel a little fresher. And, it makes a most wonderful gift.
When making anything with flowers that will go in or on your body, it’s important to use petals that have not been exposed to toxic pesticides. Commercial flowers are some of the most heavily sprayed crops, so it’s best to stick with roses that you know have grown without the use of chemicals (like from your own yard).
What you’ll need:
Large pot with lid
Heat resistant glass or stainless steel bowl (small enough to fit inside the pot)
2-3 quarts of rose petals. They should only be from fully expressed blooms but before the petals have browned. It’s best to pick them just after the morning dew has evaporated, a few hours after sunrise.
Place the petals inside the pot and pour enough water in to cover them. Set the bowl in the center of the pot, with the rim higher than the water by a few inches. If you need to elevate it, use a canning rack or fireplace brick—or something that will not move around in the water.
Cover the pot with the lid flipped upside down, and bring the rose petals to a boil. Once the water is boiling, fill the top of the lid (still flipped) with ice cubes. Reduce the heat to barely a simmer for 2 hours.
Add more ice as needed, checking occasionally to make sure there is still enough water over the petals. If you need to add more, make sure not to get any water in the center bowl.
The condensation from the heat/ice will drip into the bowl leaving a pure rose water. It should make between one pint and one quart of sumptuously fragrant rose water.
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Photo: Pink Sherbet Photography