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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 <3
Be Well & Merry Part