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Rosewater is not only beautifully fragrant but extremely versatile. It has an extensive range of uses including facial toner, hair perfume, cooling mist, and linen freshener. Rose petals are edible and rosewater has a place in the culinary world as well.
There are two relatively easy ways to make rosewater at home. The easiest and quickest way is by simmering rose petals (dried or fresh) in water. The result is a fragrant, rose-colored water. This method is suited best for recipes and uses that will not sit around very long as it has a limited shelf life.
The distilling method technically makes a hydrosol. It is also quite easy to make, albeit slightly more time-consuming, and rose hydrosol is clear and much more shelf stable.
Here’s one of the ways you can do it:
1. Select some fresh, fragrant roses and rinse them. The fresher your roses are, the better results you will get.
2. Pull the petals off and discard the rest of the rose. You will need enough petals to fill one cup. This should take about two roses, depending on the size of the rose.
3. Place the petals into a saucepan and pour water over them. Make sure that the petals are evenly distributed, and that the water level does not come too far past the petals. If you use too much water, your rosewater will be less fragrant. Consider adding up to one teaspoon of vodka. This will not affect the smell, but it will help preserve the rosewater and make it last longer.
4. Cover the pot with a lid and set the heat to “low.” Do not let the water come to a boil or a simmer; using too much heat will ruin the color and other properties. After about 20 minutes, you will see the petals become paler, and the water take on the color of the petals.
5. Place a strainer over a large glass jar. Make sure that the jar is very clean, and that it is big enough to hold about 2 cups (475 milliliters) of water. You will be using the strainer to catch the petals.
6. Pour the rosewater into the jar. Using both hands, hold the pot over the jar and tip it carefully. Slowly pour the water and petals through the strainer and into the jar. The water will pass through the strainer, and the petals will get caught in it.
7. Store in the refrigerator. The rosewater will keep about one week in the fridge. If you added vodka (step 3), it should last a bit longer.
And now that you know how to make it, next time we’ll give you some amazing uses for it!