Saturday, June 21, 2014
My mother-in-love brought a sample of lotion to me. She had found it at a craft fair in Rhode Island sold by a local herbalist. It was scented with rose water and rose essential oil. Could you make this, she asked? Hmmm! Rose essential oil is extremely expensive but, rose water, that I could do. Rose water is mildly astringent and is often used as a toner.
And then it hit me. As I rounded the corner of my house the thick scent of roses filled the air. It is June and my rose bush is in full bloom. Think with bud and blossom this year. A rose bush my mother-in-law gave me a few years back. She calls it a cemetery rose. It grows easily and in abundance. It spreads quickly if not kept in check. I pull the spreading shoots regularly and often just like my mint patch. I do not use any chemicals on my roses (or any of my plants for that matter).
After a perusal of my many books I found several recipes for making rose water. I have made two batches to date and now have a cup, that's right an entire eight ounce cup of rose water. I started by pulling the petals from the flower and adding them to my canning pot. I pushed the petals to the our circle of the pot and placed the canning jar rack in the center.
I added six cups of water and then placed a bowl on top of the rack. I covered the pot with the lid placed upside down and brought the water to a boil. I then turned the heat down to a low simmer and placed ice cubes on top of the lid. As the steam rises it condenses on the lid, flows to the center and drops into the bowl. I let this go for about 20 minutes.
In the bowl was a half cup of rose water. I bottled it in a mason jar. Uncapping it the scent smells just as the flowers in my garden. As more roses blossomed I repeated the process. It looks like I will have one more harvest this year. I'm planning to make a limited edition batch of rose lotion. The first jar is going to my mother-in-love.