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Saturday, 7 May 2011

Make your own Rosewater

May is the traditional month in Cyprus for picking rose petals for the production of rosewater. Rosa Damascena, a pinkish rose, is the native variety and with it's very strong fragrance is ideal for making rosewater but any variety of rose can be used.

Rosewater is widely used in Cyprus for desserts baklava, mahalebi and loukoum (Turkish Delight), adding a sweet smell and lovely fragrance. Adding rosewater also has health benefits, as it has antibacterial and antiseptic properties and is rich in vitamins A, C, D, E and B3. 

Traditionally rosewater is made by distillation and special stills are used, allowing the petals to be boiled and the steam to condense through an attached tube into the still. However, it can also be by using the following method. 

Pick six cups of rose petals, which is sufficient to make about 250g of rosewater, early in the morning, shake to dislodge any insects, remove the petals from the flower and wash carefully. Place the rose petals in a pan and just cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for forty-five minutes. Allow the rosewater to cool completely, strain and squeeze out any remaining liquid from the petals, before storing in a glass bottle. Keep the rosewater in the fridge and it will keep for up to a year. 

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