I love having fresh flowers in the house – it makes everything feel a little more cheerful and clean, even when things aren’t as tidy as they could be. Never underestimate the power of a posy to distract the eye from a cat-fur dust bunny. So when I was preparing for H’s birthday party a while back, I sent the Boy to Aldi to get a couple things, including some flowers. “Roses if they have them, and they’re nice”. I don’t think he heard that last part, because he did bring roses back, but they were a little moldy (ew!) and as I put them in a vase, all the petals started falling off the flowers. I think I had 8 stems remaining of the 10 that were purchased, and only 2 of them had any fullness of flower. It was very sad. And I literally had piles and piles of rose petals sitting on the countertop. The petals themselves weren’t bad – there were only a couple gross ones in the bunch. So I decided to turn lemons into lemonade, or in this case – rose petals into rose water.
Now, what does one do with rose water, you ask? Uh…I’m still trying to figure that out myself. I do know that I’ve seen a few bloggers talk about using a distilled rose water spray on their face as a sort of toner. So I purchased some small amber glass spray bottles, and set out to make rose water so that I could use it for something.
Now, it turns out that there are two methods to making rose water. The first is simmering, which is essentially letting the petals simmer in hot water for about 10 minutes to get the essence of the roses into the water. The water is then strained, and the final product lasts for a week up to a month depending on storage. I chose the distilling method because it promised to last longer, and I had no idea what I would be doing with all this rose water when I was done, so why not give myself the longest chance to figure that out? I’ll post the instructions below. Also, distilling like this made me feel very fancy and scientific, and like I was putting some of my experience in chemistry class to work.
Now, the two places I followed most closely for directions and ideas of how to use rose water definitely give you more options of what to do with it. Apparently rose water is an interesting additive for food (I believe traditional Turkish Delight is rosewater flavored. Or it can be used as a toner (per above) or as a cooling facial spray – I’ve kept one bottle in the fridge so far and will spray my face in the evenings or mornings when it’s hot out, and it’s very refreshing (the Boy and both big girls agree!). You can also spray it in your room or on linens for a relaxing, pretty scent.
But I feel like there must be something more. If anyone else wants to look at the “what to do with rose water” blog posts I sourced from and propose another DIY or some recipe for me to try, I’d be totally up for it. And if you come visit me in the next few months and want a spritz of rose water, just let me know. 🙂
Distilled Rose Water
Yield: varies based on how much water you add, I filled 5 1/2 of these 2 oz amber bottles.
Large stock pot with lid
A brick or a metal vegetable steamer
Small metal or heat-safe glass bowl
Amber bottles for storage
Place either a clean brick or a metal vegetable steamer basket (your “support”) in the bottom of your large stock pot. This will be used to hold up the bowl to catch the distilled rose water. Place the rose petals at the base of the pot surrounding the support. Cover them with water, and then place the small bowl on top of the support.
Place the stock pot lid on the pot but UPSIDE DOWN. This allows steam to collect, and then to drip down the center, where it will hopefully land in the bowl you’ve placed in the middle.
Bring the water in the pot to a boil, and then drop the heat down as low as it will go while still gently simmering. At this point, place ice in the bowl of the inverted lid. This will further encourage the condensation and dripping of the steam. Replace the ice frequently as the water simmers for about 30 minutes.
Using protection against the heated metal, carefully remove the lid so that you don’t drop any of the ice into the distilled water bowl, and then carefully remove the distilled rose water from heat. Let it cool for about 30 minutes.
Carefully pour the rose water into a dark colored glass container (so it’s not damaged by the sun), which allows for it to last longer – up to 6 months at room temperature, slightly longer if refrigerated.
Details: How to Make Rose Water from Wellness Mama