Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Simple Way to Make Your Own Rose Water

Fragrant wonderful Rose Water is a lovely ingredient you really must try if you haven't already. Rose water lemonade was my introduction -- so delightful! Rose-flavored almond milk with just a touch of honey is also a treat. It is used in Persian and Middle Eastern cuisine, especially for sweets like Turkish Delight and Marzipan. In Pakistan and India it is used to make Sweet Lassi and to flavor other dairy-based dishes like rice pudding. In fact, Rose Water is used in many cuisines around the world, but in the United States it is so rarely used it's thought to be a gourmet delicacy. And, for that reason, I always assumed it must be difficult to make. 

Not true! Some companies (and individuals) make a a rose hydrosol which is made through a distillation process, but if you have a stash of dried organic Rose Petals like I always do in my tea cabinet, it's crazily easy just to make a very strong Rose Tea, cool it and keep it in the refrigerator to be used in similar ways! Here are the basics:

First, use ORGANIC roses! Other roses are often heavily sprayed and are really not fit for edible uses. 
(That goes for the hydrosols, too! Get ORGANIC if you plan to use it in food!) To make Rose Water Tea you can use fresh rose petals but, for some reason, many people claim the dried petals are best for this purpose. (I don't have any roses at my place these days or I'd tell you for sure!) Red or pink roses have the strongest flavor (and the best color).
  1. Put 1/4 cup of dried rose petals into a saucepan. (If you have fresh petals, use 1/2 to 3/4 cup.)
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups water.
  3. Cover and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce temperature to the lowest setting that still allows the water to simmer.
  5. Simmer 5-10 minutes, until the color of the rose petals has faded. Pink roses took 5 minutes.
  6. Leave the lid on and cool completely.
  7. Pour water and petals through a strainer into a clean bottle. Some people use cheesecloth to strain thoroughly. I'm going to use mine fairly quickly and it's just for me so I didn't bother and it worked just fine. Some people recommend using a dark bottle. Mine is stored in the dark of a closed refrigerator so I used a clear mason jar and that's okay.
  8. Well-strained rose water will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks or on the counter for up to one week. Use a dark bottle if it is to be stored outside the refrigerator.
Rose water is used sparingly in most recipes -- a teaspoon or tablespoon goes a long way! I tried three times more than that my first time and it was way too much. I liked a teaspoon added to a cup of warm milk with a touch of ground cardamon and honey. A tablespoon of Rose Water with a splash of cranberry juice added to a pint glass of soda water over ice was a nice treat. I am looking forward to stirring some into a dish of vanilla ice cream, and using it in rice pudding is supposed to be divine!

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