This rose water syrup is an essential in most Middle-Eastern kitchens. Each cook has his or her own way of preparing the syrup, so many variations of this classic ingredient can be found. Basically, the syrup is made from sugar and water to which rose water is added; sometimes additional ingredients such as citrus juice or perhaps a spice such as cinnamon is used. Adding the citrus cuts the intensity of the rose perfume a bit and gives the rose water syrup a different dimension. MAKES 3 CUPS
• 1 cup water
• 3 cups sugar
• About 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
• 1 teaspoon citrus zest, optional
• 1/3 to 1/2 cup rose water
1. In a saucepan, combine water and sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes.
2. Add citrus juice, zest and rose water, stirring, and let simmer about 10 minutes. This makes a standard, not-too-thick syrup. If a thicker syrup is desired, reduce it further, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature. Strain and pour into a clean canning jar or bottle, seal and label. Store in the refrigerator.
Susan Belsinger loves immersing herself in all things herbal and looks forward to researching, growing, cooking and photographing each new Herb of the Year.