You might want to make your own rose water.

If you could capture the magnificent essence of roses and put it in a bottle, would you?

I would.  Even if the gardens weren’t yet all in, even if you couldn’t get in or out of the front door, for the pile of dirty laundry waiting to be walked to the washer.  The roses are ready and are fleeting.

With my trusty enamel pot in hand, I visited the rose bush out back and carefully plucked her petals.  She was ready to let them go; she’s been sprinkling the earth below with a gentle shower of those petals for a few days now.

Find yourself a helper if you can; tasks like these are best shared.

Go ahead.  Bury your face in there so you can really smell them.  Drink it in.

Nestle an upturned glass into the center of the pot.  Fill with cold water to just above the level of the petals.  Revel in how lovely it is to try plunging them under, how lovely it is to pull your hands out of the water, covered in rose petals.

Place a dish for collecting the rose water on top of the upturned glass.  Don’t kid yourself – it need not be big.  This custard dish fit the task perfectly.

Place the lid on, upside down.  Be sure that the center of the upturned lid is centered above the collecting dish, but not touching.  When the water is boiling, fill the lid with ice cubes.  This causes the rose-infused water vapor to condense on the lid, follow the curve downward, and run right into the collecting dish.  Be careful not to boil too long or the delicate essence will become over-cooked.  I would recommend not doing this while waiting for the school bus to arrive.  You should really give it your full attention.  (take note, Self.)

This is the rose water I collected.  It’s scant and precious, indeed.

I poured it into the jar immediately, while still hot.  Essential oils are volatile and will drift away just as easily from your rose water as they did from the petals you collected.

So you’ve made some rose water.  Hooray.  Now what?

Bake with it.

Ice cream, anyone?

Beauty cream.

Or put it on a cool, dark shelf somewhere safe and consider yourself rich.

You get the idea.

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20 Responses to “You might want to make your own rose water.”

  1. Jenelle says:

    I am going to try this with lilacs this weekend.

  2. Jeanne says:

    Thanks for this. Sounds simple enough!

    • Oh, hi Jeanne! I just made the connection to your name and face. Maybe your ears were burning – I was hearing about your dental triumphs the other night from some of our mutual friends. How inspiring!!

  3. mary clay says:

    I love to spritz myself with rose water in the summer! I cannot wait to try this! Thanks

  4. Angela FRS says:

    Beautiful! My roses are ready, so I will try this.

  5. Karen says:

    I’m going to be doing this with lavender as well. Makes the laundry smell WONDERFUL and all my sewing, too!

  6. Deanna says:

    So about how long would you say you boiled it, or should have…just so I don’t ruin it and all those petals?

    • It’s tough to say exactly how long, but there’s a change in how it all smells – not as sweet and ros-y, but a tad bitter. The petals are also totally shot by that point, so perhaps that’s another good indicator – they had turned to mush. I’m sorry to say I didn’t see what they looked like after boiling, before they went too long because I was retrieving my daughter from the bus stop.

  7. Angela Watts says:

    This is fabulous. I’d never thought to use a setup like this to distill flower essences….my husband is going to think his wife (who went to college for chemistry) has gone totally insane.

  8. I tried this out and like the results. My only question is how do you keep the over turned custard dish from bouncing when the water boils and moving the collection jar and toppling it?

    • Sounds like you need a bigger pot and less water in there — there should only be enough water to cover the rose petals. A taller overturned glass is key too. Maybe you need to do it in two batches if you have tons of petals and thus have a high level of water in there?

  9. Ghada says:

    Can you use dried roses? Or there a different method for it to make rose water?

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