Making Simple Rose Water

Make your own rose water – a drawing for roses

Rosewater is made from the petals of roses ( fresh or dried) and distilled or filtered water.  Rose is a natural skin healer – she is a mild astringent and is used for anti-aging properties as well as general soothing chapped, dry or sensitive skin.  It’s wonderful for the height of summer to spritz on your face or to save for the winter to remind yourself that summer does exist!

Foraging and finding practical purposes for your foraged goods is one of the most life giving and satisfying activities!  It deepens your sacred connection to the earth by being part of a cycle.  It involves observing plants in their natural environment and engaging with the plant to withdraw hidden properties 🙂  I always feel like the earth wants to heal us and she has many ways in which we can, if only we were to get out there!

Collected roses

FORAGE

Find Roses!  You can use any type of rose to make rose water.  Our ditches, hedges, abandoned farms are rife with wild roses.  They are great to collect the hips to make Vitamin C rich teas for our long winters.  On our property, we have what I believe to be Centifolia Rose (although I am not completely certain).  The original plant I believe was planted many, many moons ago – perhaps with the original farmers.  It produces hundreds of roses each late June/early July.

Roses in PEI

WHICH TO PICK?

It is very important to leave flowers behind on the plant for the insects.  There are so many insects that depend on these roses.  I always look in the flower before I pluck it to make sure there isn’t a bee or spider inside.  If there is, you should really leave the flower where it is!  I also pick just enough so that when you step back from the plant, it doesn’t look like you have been there (i.e. leave a lot of flowers to go to seed, etc).  Rose plants like the wild rose and the variety we have, produce so many flowers that this really shouldn’t be a problem.  My Mom even just picks the freshly fallen petals so not to disturb the health of the plant.

Pick in the morning!  Roses may begin to droop and lose petals when the heat of the sun is directly upon them.  I always find that they are happy in mid-morning, fresh with dew and in the shade.  But of course, if you have time restraints, anytime of day will let you pick roses 😉  There are old folk beliefs which dictate when to pick plants to extract their most potent properties as well as which moon quarter to plant and harvest, but anyway!  Perhaps for another day?

The roses are reaching their end here, but I have still been picking them for future use.

FRESH OR DRY?

This all depends on you!  What would you like?  Since they are fresh on the plant right now, I have been making rosewater with fresh flowers – however, i am drying them as well to make autumn and winter blends.  You don’t need a lot to make a small mason jar of water (and it goes a long way).  Many websites suggest to just use the petals.. but I usually use the hip and the centre as well.  I fill a cup (which would be pressed down to be about 1/2 cup) and then place them in a pot of filtered water.  You often read distilled water – I simply use our water from the reverse osmosis filter that we have hooked up to our sink.

a cup of roses, pressed down to be about a half a cup
simmering away in my all time favourite pot – I picked this up from a thrift store – I think it’s from the 1960s but not totally sure!

Cover the roses with the water and put the heat on low.  Wait until all of the colour has been extracted from the roses before straining.  And voila!  Strain and cool!  There are MANY other ways to make rosewater but this is very simple.  It does of course have a very short shelf life and should be refrigerated for freshness (I’m guilty of leaving it around in a spray bottle.. woops).

We are also back in the very high temperatures this week, so I actually just take this little bottle around with me and spritz my face regularly.  It is so refreshing and I’m convinced heals my super sensitive skin.

Colours gone! Ready to pour
Bottled my dear, just to cool
An old glass spray bottle! This product was not very gentle on my skin (I had difficulty breathing when spraying it on and smelt strongly of an alcohol) so I slowly diluted it with my own homemade rose water and now it is just my own! The bottle is perfect because it is glass and very portable.

I hope you will try it and let me know what you think!  Roses are so amazing, the scent, the colour and all of their amazing healing properties (Many internal healing as well as topical).  Up until fairly recently as well, rose water was used in baking.  Vanilla Extract has largely replaced it.    If you think the shelf life is fast approaching and you have a lot left – you can always add it to a bath or use it as a face wash!  I used the last of my last batch on a house plant that needs a little TLC.

JUST THE BEGINNING…

Last year, I placed all of my dried roses in oil to infuse for soap making.  My Mom and i make calendula and rose infused lye based soaps for home use.  It was really, really lovely!  This year, we have been having such hot water that a rose spritzer is definitely appropriate!  There are so many uses, so best start looking out for wild roses ❤

Be Well & Merry Part

 

12 thoughts on “Making Simple Rose Water

    1. The Rosewater I think would have too short a shelf life (I don’t really feel comfortable selling with like… something in there to preserve it) but the soap is a really good idea. I think we are going to put some up for sale after our next batch. It won’t be for a couple of months though because we need to collect and dry flowers/herbs and then make solar infusions from them and then the soap must “cure” for about a month! Hopefully by October there will be some :)!

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  1. Merci, Julia!!! Fabulous and very well written! I only have one rose bush and one miniature rose bush on our land, but my mother-in-law has very large rose bushes and I know she would be happy to allow me to harvest them.

    I seem to remember being told by our local community herbalist (we are SO blessed to have her) and hearing from Native Americans (First Nation) that one should only harvest 1/3 of the plant or bush, leaving 1/3 for the insects, birds and animals, and 1/3 for the plant’s future growth. I think I have those percentages right. Always ask the plant/bush first if you can harvest from it. If you sense a yes, then show respect for the plant by harvesting gently and never taking more than you need. If no, move on to another plant/bush. When finished, always thank and bless the plant/bush.

    I know some bakers who are resurrecting the use of rose water in their baking. So wonderful!

    🌹🥀 I too will add your instructions to my Stillroom Journal. Thank you 🙏 for your generous sharing here, Julia.

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      1. And one more thing… what is the name of the book that is shown in the photo along with the wooden spoon and rose petals in the glass pitcher?

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      2. The name of this book is “Old Wives’ Lore for Gardeners” by Maureen & Bridget Boland, 2nd printing from 1977. It is one of my favourite little books with really lovely paper and the illustrations are from Gerard’s 1597 “Herball”. It’s a really special book 🙂

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    1. Bonnie, I think that is very very very wise!!!! 1/3 sounds very reasonable. I wonder what other knowledge your local herbalist has from the Native Americans – I would be so curious! I’ll try to remember those numbers as well. There are some plants that I am just… really selfish with like Lavender and berry bushes. I always tell myself about the berries that they are so incredibly plentiful that it’s no matter that I am taking a whole basket full!

      Perhaps I’ll look into baking with some of our rose water! I wonder if there are any fun medieval recipes online 🙂

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      1. I was able to find a used copy of the book on Amazon. It’s coming from the UK, so I don’t expect it to arrive for a few weeks. I can’t wait for its arrival!

        Also, I stopped at my local independent bookstore today and ordered the Summer, Autumn, and Winter editions of the Flower Fairy 🧚‍♀️ series. I loved the Spring so much that I really wanted the entire set. Also ordered for my granddaughter since I’m keep this first set for me. 😉

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  2. I loved this and am eager to try it. When you say short shelf life are we talking weeks? I would love to see a pictorial/tutorial of you and your mother making soap. I so enjoy your blog, it is such a little sanctuary in this crazy world.

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    1. Hi!

      Apologies for the super late response – I think it depends on the heat. I did keep one out during these impossibly hot days and it began to ferment really really quickly. However, before the heat it lasted around 2 weeks. If you are using it just for your face, I would keep it in the fridge and should last a couple of weeks however if you are going to use it in cooking or soap or what have you, use it a couple days after making it and of course once it’s “cooked” into something else, you’ll be golden!

      Thank you so much! I will try to get together a blog post for when my mom and I make some soap. I am currently just soaking dried flowers from the garden in oil for the soaps 🙂

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