Make your own rosewater

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Rosewater is a deliciously scented ingredient in many homemade cleaners, beauty products and food recipes, but it can be fairly expensive to buy. Some commercial products even contain synthetic fragrance. Why not make your own instead? All you need are roses and water.

You need:
8-10 cups spray-free heavily scented rose petals
Large saucepan or stockpot with a domed lid
Two heavy heat-resistant glass or ceramic bowls (they need to be heavy so that they don’t move around in the water – you can replace one with a brick. See below).


Place one of the glass bowls upside down on the bottom of the saucepan. If you don’t think it will be heavy enough so as not to move around, use a brick instead.

Place the other bowl on top of first bowl, right side up. Sprinkle the rose petals onto the bottom of the saucepan. Fill the saucepan with water so that it just covers the rose petals. Place the lid on the saucepan upside down (this is where a domed lid comes in handy), turn on the heat and bring the water to the boil.

Reduce to a simmer, then fill the inverted lid with ice cubes. As the steam from the boiling water hits the cold lid, it condenses, flows down to the centre of the lid and drips into the bowl. That’s your perfumed rosewater.

Check the bowl every 10-15 minutes. You should end up with 1-2 cups of water that smells deliciously rosy. If you leave it on the stove too long, the scent will eventually become diluted. The distilling process should take around 20-30 minutes.

Allow the rosewater to cool then bottle it.

You can then use the rosewater as an ingredient in homemade creams and moisturisers, cleaning products, or even recipes.

Watch out for NZ Gardener’s special edition on Roses (to be launched at Ellerslie Flower Show 2012 in March), which includes homemade beauty recipes using rosewater, rose crafts, rose arranging tips, expert advice on growing roses, and more.

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