FoodRose water secrets: Culinary and health benefits revealed

Rose water secrets: Culinary and health benefits revealed

Rose water
Rose water
Images source: © Canva | AndrisTkachenko

1:51 PM EDT, June 12, 2024

Rose water has been used since ancient times as a "cure-all." Today, we mainly associate it with cosmetics or perfumes, but it has a broader range of uses.

Rose water has been a staple in kitchens worldwide for centuries, especially in the Middle East. It is a liquid obtained by distilling rose petals with water, which retains a delicate floral scent and taste. While we usually associate rose water with face or hair products, it also has broad culinary applications.

Why is it worth consuming rose water?

Rose water is valued not only for its unique aroma but also for its numerous health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants, which help fight free radicals in the body, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Additionally, rose water has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which can relieve skin inflammations such as acne or eczema and colds, sore throats, or gum diseases.

Regular consumption of rose water may also improve digestion and alleviate gastrointestinal problems such as stomach aches or indigestion. Thanks to its relaxing properties, it can also help reduce stress and improve mood. Due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, it is also recommended for colds, sore throats, or gum diseases. Rose water exhibits a mild cooling effect, making it a good choice for a beverage during hot weather.

How to prepare rose water at home?

Avoid consuming rose water intended for body care, as it may contain substances unsuitable for ingestion. The product composition should only indicate the presence of water and rose petals. This is what characterizes actual rose water. If you want to make it at home, you should know that the best types of roses for this purpose are fragrant varieties, with the best being Damask rose, Centifolia rose, and French rose. Małgorzata Kalemba-Drożdż, in her book “Rose Recipes: Petals, Leaves, and Fruits in the Kitchen and Home Spa,” proposes three methods for preparing rose water.

Rose water is a by-product of rose oil production.
Rose water is a by-product of rose oil production.© Canva | Liliia Kondratenko
  1. 50 grams (1.8 oz) of rose petals (remove the white tips beforehand) should be drenched in 250 milliliters (8.5 oz) of cold water. Add lemon juice (it softens the water, making everything dissolve more easily) and seal tightly. This mixture should be set aside for 3 days at room temperature.
  2. Rose petals should be drenched in slightly warm water; add lemon juice and seal tightly. This mixture should be set aside for 1 day at room temperature.
  3. Rose petals should be drenched in hot water, sealed tightly, and set aside to cool. Then add lemon juice.

Pour the prepared rose water into a clean, sealed jar or bottle. It should stay fresh for about 10 days when stored in the refrigerator. Rose water is a versatile ingredient that can enhance the taste of many dishes. Adding it to cakes and cookies gives them a subtle floral aroma. It is also an excellent addition to beverages such as lemonades or cocktails and to main dishes, especially those with a sweet and spicy flavor profile.

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