I was recently inspired by Mama Rosemary, (one of my favorite blogger-friends), to make my own hydrosols. In her blog post, she made it look so simple and easy, I thought, “why am I buying floral water (hydrosol) when it is so easy to make?” Using simple kitchen ingredients, I created my own still and made a refreshingly lovely rosewater. Any flowers or herbs can be used, and hydrosols serve many purposes. They are amazingly refreshing when spritzed straight onto the body, and also have many culinary uses, medicinal uses, and are a lovely ingredient in many body care products.
I usually buy my floral waters from Mountain Rose Herbs because they carry a high quality that I appreciate, and their website has a lot of great info on hydrosols:
Hydrosols, also known as floral waters, hydroflorates, flower waters or distillates are produced from steam-distilling plant materials. Hydrosols have similar properties to essential oils but are much less concentrated. Unlike their “essential oil added to water” counterparts, true steam-distilled hydrosols contain all the beneficial components that whole plant materials have to offer.
Hydrosols are usually a by-product of essential oil production, but the highest quality comes from devoted distillers who, with artist-like precision, steam small batches of fresh floral and plant material strictly to produce hydrosol… Hydrosols contain all of the essence of the plant in every drop, just like essential oils but in a milder form; making them suitable for all manner of applications where essential oils would be too strong. In most hydrosols there is less than 5% actual oil.
Now that I know how easy they are to make, I am excited to add hydrosols to my list of things I can make at home and no longer have to buy!
Using a pot, an inverted lid, a glass bowl, ice, and some big handfuls of fresh rose petals, I easily distilled a quart of rosewater.
First, I gathered some fresh roses from my mother’s garden. I used the petals of about one dozen.
Your source for roses is very important. If you don’t grow your own, you need to find some untreated roses. You don’t want to use store-bought, pesticide-laden roses. They will cause you more harm than good. Look around at a farmer’s market, or befriend your green-thumb neighbor In my town, there are many front-yard flower stands, and I’m bound to run across naturally grown roses eventually! It is also important to use highly fragrant roses, for they have the most medicinal qualities.
Next, I rinsed the petals, eliminating dirt and bugs from my plant material. I put my petals in the pot and filled it with water just covering all of the petals. I think I probably ended up filling my pot half-way with water.
I placed my (floating) glass bowl in the center of the pot and situated the petals around the outer rim of the pot. The glass bowl is what will catch my rose water as it condenses. If you don’t have a bowl that floats, it is recommended to use a fireplace brick, or pie pan, ceramic ramekin, or other heat-resistant item to place in the bottom of the pan to place your bowl on top of. You need to have your catchment bowl up out of the water of the pot to keep the condensation you are catching separate from the water that the rose petals are sitting in.
I then placed my lid upside down over the pot, so it is inverted. I turned my heat to low-medium-ish, (it is important not to boil the plant material), and placed some baggies filled with ice on top of the lid. Then the magic started to happen…
How exactly? Mama Rosemary explains quite well “how it works:”
The water will steam the plant material carrying all the goodness from the plant into the air. The steam collects on the lid of the pan and condenses due to the ice cubes. Because the pot lid is upside down, as the steam turns back into a liquid the liquid is directed to drip down into the smaller bowl. This liquid is your hydrosol! Pretty cool, uh?
Tip: I placed my ice in baggies because once it had melted I could grab the baggies (of now water), and quickly dump the water and replace it with more ice. Otherwise, you are lifting the lid off of your “still” and potentially losing some of your steam, (meaning rosewater). Otherwise, I have seen the water sucked from the lid using a turkey baster.
Do you make floral waters? What is your favorite way to use them?
I plan to make a lavender hydrosol next, because I just ran out making my Lavender Hair Rinse and Burn Spray. I also look forward to making a mint hydrosol for an instant cool-down spray, (my menopausal mother is going to love this!) and lemon balm hydrosol to soothe my mama-nerves.
Don’t forget to Pin this post to your “herbal” or “want to make” pin boards, because this easy DIY is versatile in its application and safe and effective for the whole family. Definitely worth your time
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