“How did it happen that their lips came together? How does it happen that birds sing, that snow melts, that the rose unfolds, that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees on the quivering summit of the hill? A kiss, and all was said.” ~ Victor Hugo
Some days lately have just been too cold and clammy to enjoy gardening. The roses, however, are in full bloom so I decided to make rose water one day and stay indoors. It’s expensive to buy but easy to make and, thanks to Alton Brown, I knew ahead of time exactly how I would do it.
First of all, you MUST HAVE CHEMICAL FREE ROSES! Absolutely no pesticides ever come into contact with my roses, so I’m good to go:
1) Take your biggest stock pot and put a brick, rock, small meat rack or other “thing” in the bottom to keep your rose water catcher up out of the water. I used a rock:
2) Pull the petals off your roses and rinse them if needed, also removing any bugs. I get little beetles on mine, but they shake right off. Choose juicy looking petals and discard all leaves and stems. Put the petals in the bottom of your stock pot and cover them with water.
3) Take a bowl and set it on top of your rock/brick. This will catch your rose water as it drips so it needs to fit in the pot with the lid on. I used stainless steel but next time I’ll use an older bowl because the roses discolored it.
4) Put the lid of the stock pot on UPSIDE DOWN. You want to choose one with a curved lid and a handle. The point is to have your evaporated rose essence run down the lid, down the handle and into the bowl.
5) Put some ice on the inverted lid to cause the steam to condense…this condensation is your rose essence!
6) Turn the heat on! This is where the instructions I looked up start to vary. All over the place in fact. Some advice said to boil for hours and some said 20 minutes. The reasoning behind what I did was this: I have plenty of petals out there to keep making more water with, so I didn’t need to abuse these petals by over-boiling them and thereby DILUTING my rose water. Once I felt the roses had given their best, I turn the heat off and said Amen. You can tell by scent. Once the kitchen stopped smelling so strongly of roses, I knew it was finished. Make sense? So, I simmered on low for about 40 minutes. Next time I may try 30 minutes, or put more rose petals in.
7) When it’s done, it looks like this:
I’m sure there were some uses for this boiled up mess, but today I was only after the water!
I got half a cup of rose water, enough to fill two of my apothecary bottles. (thank you Gina and Lori! I love them!)
This was so easy and fun, I will be making more all season! My favorite use so far is as a facial toner. I mix it with a little witch hazel on some cotton – done! Other great uses: put the rose water or petals in your bath with some milk (all of my expired milk goes in the tub with me) and your skin will be soooo soft! Or, spritz a little on your pillow or in the room. It’s even good mixed with Champagne/sparkling wine – be sure to float an extra petal in your glass 🙂 As I find more uses and recipes, I’ll post them. In the meantime, here’s the recipe that started it all. Thank you, Alton Brown – and also Tom, for catching that episode for me.