Body & Soul: Rosewater

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Personalize your scent: Craft floral waters and colognes at home.

Makes 8 to 16 ounces

Rosewater is a classic floral water and skin freshener. It is naturally astringent and cleansing to your skin. You can purchase rosewater at natural food and grocery stores. If you have a garden full of fragrant petals, try this at-home method for distilling your own scented water. This same procedure also works with other scented flowers and herbs, so feel free to experiment.

• 8 to 10 cups rose petals, washed
• 2 to 4 quarts water, depending on pan size
• Ice cubes

1. In center of large pan or stockpot, place 1 small glass or ceramic bowl upside-down.  Place rose petals around bowl in bottom of pan. 

2. Place a second small bowl on top of the inverted bowl, so that it is above the rose petals. Then fill pot (not the bowl) with water to just cover the petals.  

3. Place the lid on the pot upside-down (it works best if your lid is rounded). Turn on burner and bring water to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to low and let the water and petals simmer. Fill the inverted pan lid with ice cubes. (Note: You have created a still. The steam from the boiling water hits the cold lid and condenses, then falls back into the top glass bowl.)  

5. Every 10 to 15 minutes, check your bowl and the water it has collected. It should smell like roses. 

6. Stop the process when you have 1 to 2 cups of rosewater. (Note: If you steam the petals too long, the fragrance of your water will be diluted. The entire process should take about 20 to 30 minutes.) 

7. When cool, pour the scented water into a clean jar or bottle.

Janice Cox is the author of Natural Beauty at Home (Henry Holt, 2002). To contact her,

Click here for the original article, Body & Soul: How to Create Floral Waters and Colognes.

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