I know some things about Herbs., I'll show you how!, We grow things.

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.

30 responses to “You might want to make your own rose water.

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!!

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.

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.

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?


You can use dried petals, but the petals have had time to lose some of their essence, so I wouldn’t hold out for a very strong batch.


so,I loved finding this tutorial and decided to do it with some of my herbs. I have an abundance of lemon balm currently, so I started with that. I have a couple questions.
1. Because I am collecting the cooled condensation/vapor am I actually collecting the essential oils?

2. How much herb should I be boiling per batch?

3. It seemed like I could have collected more liquid than my collecting bowl could hold, but I expected much less. Is this a concern or a boon?

4. Should I be using just the large leaves?

Mary Jo

Hello Carlane –
Please forgive the brevity of my reply. I will do my best.
1. Yes. You are making a hydrosol, which includes essential oils. Look that up – a world of info out there!
2. Use your judgement. There is no “recipe”. You’ll want your herbs to all fit on the surface, so the oils can be collected, so don’t overfill.
3. I’m not sure what you’re asking. Again, use your judgement.
4. I don’t know why the size of the leaves would matter.

Good luck! Have fun!


Normally at rose factories you should pick up roses on first day of blooming and before sunrise, because once sun rays touch rose petals, the aroma will mostly disappear, and flower will be wasted. If you will repeat your experiment one day, try to pick up roses using this tip, you will feel the difference)

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