Making Hydrosols on the Stove

Learn how to use a simple stovetop method to make fragrant rose water that can be used for a refreshing spritz on a hot day.

| July / August 2018

  • Using rose hydrosol, especially on your face, may be one of the greatest joys in life.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/Vesna Cvorovic
  • To make hydrosols on the stove, arrange the rose petals in a pot around a raised measuring cup.
    Photo by Emily Han
  • Once the water in the pot starts to simmer, place the bag of ice on top of the lid, which will help the steam inside condense and fall into the measuring cup as water.
    Photo by Emily Han

If you’re interested in making your own hydrosols, you can start with a simple stovetop method. After you fall in love with the ancient alchemical process, you may consider graduating to a still, which can be made from copper, glass, or stainless steel and will result in a more efficient distillation. Copper is the top choice for many home distillers, because the metal binds with sulfur and yeast to form a sweeter hydrosol that doesn’t need to age before being used.

For this recipe, use a 12-quart lidded saucepan and a convex lid (a glass lid is ideal, so you can see what’s going on inside the pot). You’ll also need 2 small, sturdy, heat-safe bowls, such as ramekins or ceramic or glass cereal bowls — if you only have a single bowl, a heat-safe glass measuring cup will work well for the second bowl. This recipe is specifically for making rose water, but you can use this method to create hydrosols from a wide variety of fresh flowers or herbs, such as orange blossom or lavender.

• 6 cups fresh rose petals
• About 6 cups water
• Large resealable plastic bag filled with ice cubes, plus more ice cubes as needed

1. Gently shake the flowers to remove any dirt or insects.



2. Place 1 heat-safe bowl upside down in the center of the saucepan.

3. Arrange the rose petals around the sides of the bowl.



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