Last year I realized that double knock out rose don’t have a smell once they dry. Those roses are durable and simply laugh at all the other roses’ aliments. I can’t sell dried rose petals at Anna Lee Herbs if they don’t smell even if they look amazing. Last year, I added five Damask Roses to the garden since they are known for their fragrance. Making my own delicious DIY rose water was high on my to do list. I realized it was so simple. Learn how and why you should have a jar in your refrigerator!
Use for Rose Water:
Rose water can be used for the following:
- an astringent for skin. Check out this rose water toner recipe HERE.
- used in cooking. Doesn’t rose water and strawberry jam with vanilla bean sound divine? Or Rose ice cream or almond baklava with rose water? (Sounds like I have a sweet tooth issue.) Alternatively, try a citrus salad with rose water.
- Skip the food and use in drinks. Try a rose water martini.
- Use as a hair rinse. See recipes HERE and HERE.
- Scent your linens. See a recipe HERE.
- Use it to set your make-up.
- Use it to remove your make-up. See a recipe HERE.
- Some claim it is a good remedy for acne. See a recipe HERE.
How to Make Your Own DYI Rose Water:
On the internet, I saw so many variations on how to make your own rose water. Some said simply pour hot water on the rose petals while others used a steam method to extract the rose essence.
The rose water bottle in my pantry was clear and looks similar to water. Therefore, I decided to try the steam method instead of simply making more of a rose tea.
What You Will Need
- A stockpot (like this one.)
- A lid that you can invert on your stock pot which can hold ice. My stockpot lid is perfectly flat so the ice once melted would make a mess of my stove
- freshly picked or dried pesticide free rose petals
- ice stored in plastic bags in the freezer
- 2 container or a brick and one container
- Pie weights (optional)
- A sterilize jar to hold your distilled water. Distilled products can easily grow bacteria. Make sure all of your equipment is sterilize. Water breeds bacteria so use your product quickly or use a preservative. (Note, no preservative will help if you contaminate the product before you preserve it.)
- I use Leucidal Liquid SF at a 3 to 4% per weight of the distillation and store the product in the refrigerator. Keep an eye for white thin floaters or anything fishy in the water. Those lovelies are bacteria. If you see them, give the distilled water to your plants.
#1 Collect your roses
I collect my roses before 11 am in the morning. If you don’t own fragrant roses, you can buy them HERE. Please don’t use roses from a florist unless you know the roses aren’t sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals.
If you are collecting your roses, take off the rose petals and wash them. My roses always have something crawling in them. I use a salad spinner to wash them.
Compost the stems.
#2 Put the roses in a stockpot
I collect about a large bowl full of roses and use my large stock pot. Select a pot based upon fitting the roses petals around a brick, ramekin, or glass dish. You will be placing a dish on top of the base dish to collect the condensed rose water.
I invert my dish.
You don’t want your rose petals to be higher than the insert.
You can add pie weights to the bowl to make sure it stays in place if you don’t want to invert the dish.
#3 Add Distilled Water
Add distilled water to just cover the roses. Add a little at a time to make sure your roses aren’t floating in water. If you don’t have unit to make distilled water, you can make your own or buy distilled water at the grocery store.
#4 Add your Collection Container.
Add you collection container. Make sure it is nice and wide so you don’t miss the condensation.
#5 Bring the Pot to Almost a Boil
Bring the pot to almost a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Don’t go anywhere. I did this the first time and the roses simply boiled for longer than they should.
#6 Place your invert top on the pot and then your ice
I tried the ice two different ways. First I just put ice on the invert top. Of course in about 5 minutes I had a small lagoon happening on top of the pot with no turkey baster in site to drain the water. SOMEONE was using it to water her seedlings.
I am going to have to talk to that Someone.
The second time, I put ice in freezer plastic bags that I re-use over and over. Stuff the bags in the freezer for when I needed them during the recipe. (I am such a girl scout.)
When it was time to add the ice, I simply got my bags out of the freezer, and laid them sideways on top of the lid. When the water melted, I gave it to my plants and grabbed a new bag.
The cold lid causes condensation, which creates the distilled rose water.
#7 Wait About 20 minutes.
I am serious. Don’t peek. You will let out the steam. (Yes, I peeked.) Once the 20 minute is up, you can peek and see if the rose are now white.
My roses happen to be white and pink so they look more like they were a washed out white.
If they aren’t washed out looking, then continue collecting more rose water.
I worry that a certain point, I would be diluting the rose water with simply distilled water steam. So, if you want to be on the safe side, stop steaming after 20 minutes.
#8 Strain the Rose Water
I strained my rose water through a napkin since I couldn’t find a cheesecloth. Sometimes, a stamen might end up in your water.
The Finished Product.
The finished product will look like water. (See the picture at the beginning of the post.) Simply taste it and you will detect the rose scent.
But you aren’t done.
Strain the rose petals and compost them or apply them to your face. I was itching from something I touched outside and applied some of the petals to my hands.
Guess what? I stopped itching.
Once you strain the rose petals, you have rose petal tea. It is a lovely shade of rose. You can definitely tell the difference in the taste of the rose tea versus the rose water. The rose tea has a tannin taste and the rose water doesn’t.
Store both the rose water and tea in the refrigerator. Use it quickly so it doesn’t breed bacteria. Otherwise, consider using a preservative if you want to store it for a longer time.
Join the Conversation:
Do you make your own rose water?
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Mary KeaRNS says
Thank you for the recipe, Anna. I tried Euell Gibbons’ recipes a few years ago, but I did something wrong and ended up with a watery concoction with very little rose scent. I have the feeling that your detailed instructions will work perfectly.
green Bean says
How interesting. I will be honest. I’ve only vaguely heard of rosewater but never realized all of the wonderful uses it has. Sounds delightful! Pinning.
Sara Vartanian says
I love rose water for a linen spray but haven’t used it for years and years since my Nana used to make it. I’m going to give it a go. Thanks, Anna!
Amy Ziff says
I love this idea! My children often pluck flowers and pick them apart. Now we can turn that into a project that yields something. Fun!
Hello! I have made rosewater by distillation and kept the simmering water too. The simmering water, rose water, which I kept in the fridge, has developed some sort of mother, like the one homemade apple cider vinegar develops. Is this normal?? I’ve looked on line a+but cannot find an answer to this… Thank you so much in advance!!
Luisa, that is not okay. Usually there are strings floating around which is called bloom. Yours is definitely growing something. It is bacteria. Give it to your plants. In the future you have to make sure everything is sterile (the pots, the bottles, etc.) and use it quickly. Water breeds bacteria. Anna