Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Make Homemade Rosewater

I have always wanted to make my own rosewater, didn't think I'd be able to without owning a fancy still. But my hero, Rosemary Gladstar, explains two simple methods for making rosewater in her book, Herbs for Natural Beauty. Our roses are blooming like mad right now so the ladies and I took full advantage of the opportunity. Today I will show you method #1.

You must first gather:
a lot of roses, 2- 3 quarts of fresh roses to be exact.

Now, to make your home still you need:
a large pot (I used my black and speckled canning pot, the ideal pot for a still)
a round inverted lid that fits the pot
a brick
a glass quart bowl
ice cubes

1. In the center of the pan, place the brick and sprinkle the roses around the brick. This is how your pot should look.

2. Pour in just enough water to cover the roses and the brick. Then put the glass bowl on top of the brick. Turn the stove on high, place the inverted lid on top of the pot and bring to a boil.

3. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, place your ice on top of the inverted lid, lower the heat to a simmer. Tah Dah! You now have a homemade still! As the water boils, the steam rises, clings to the cold lid and condenses. The water droplets slide down to the center of the lid and fall into your glass bowl. Genius! What a GREAT science experiment!

4. Let your still cook for 20 minutes. Then carefully lift the lid, taste and smell the rosewater in the bowl. It should have a strong rosey taste and smell. If it's to your liking turn off the heat, replace the lid and let your rosewater cool down. You can cook this a little longer, but be careful, if the roses cook too long you will simmer away the essential oils and be left with plain ol' water. It's time to stop cooking when you have between a pint and a quart of rosewater sitting in your bowl. I got exactly a pint from this cooking.

Fauna and Araina wanted me to point out that you must clean and check your roses for any little critters that might be living in the roses before you turn on that stove. We found this chubby green caterpillar (which we are still trying to identify, think it's a moth of some kind) amongst the pretty pink and purple petals. The ladies were happy to find a new friend, they don't even mind the poop!

Method #2 doesn't require cooking, but I will leave that for another day when we have more roses to use. The girls and I picked the plants bare! For a little history and some ideas to use your rosewater visit my post on Rosewater (there is even a recipe for rosewater cookies). Enjoy!


Annie said...

Genius is right! Lisa, I can't wait to do this! I have the same pot too.

Kelly said...

Lisa, this is lovely and so rewarding! Cute little caterpillar too.

Penny said...

I was just enjoying a glass of iced rose petal tea today. When you add stevia it tastes like rose petal candy...yummy.

Mona said...

You are such an inspiration! I want to try everything you do :)
The chive vinegar and the herbal jelly is on my to-do list this week - oh, and the Dandelion Flower Cookies, not least …

kristen said...

oooh! i want to try this! i can't believe your roses - they are breathtaking!

Leciawp said...

great idea!

Tan Family said...

Rosewater is so amazing, and what a treat to make it yourself! Can't wait to read your next post about it.

Pussnae said...

Lisa, I think you're going to have to write a book with all these great ideas. I'll be the first to buy it!

Tara said...

The roses are so pretty.... I'm actually not a fan of the smell of roses but I do love to look at them!

dottyspots said...

The still is a fabulous idea - why have I never thought of that? We were walking down the rose bordered snicket today when Nin reminded me that I promised her we'd pick rosepetals to make something with this summer.

Tammie Lee said...

Ummm, I shall have to try this some day. As I have no rose garden it will have to be wild roses. Your post is so lovely with all your inspiring images!