How to Make Rosewater and Other Hydrosols

rosewater-sustaincreateandflow 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!

hydrosol set-up

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.

rose-petals 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.

rose-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.

rose-petals-paled I steamed my petals until they paled and rosewater filled my inner glass bowl.  The whole steaming process lasted about 25-30 minutes.

rosewater I allowed my rosewater to cool and transferred it to a mister bottle.  To avoid spoilage, floral waters are best kept in the refridgerator.

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.

Let’s continue the conversation on facebook!

and

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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Shared with: Party Wave Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Frugal days, Sustainable ways, From The Farm, LHITS DIY Linky

 

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53 Comments

  1. Oh wow, I am so excited that you were inspired to make your own hydrosol. Isn’t it fun and easy? I love the idea of putting the ice in baggie… that is kinda brillant!

  2. My dad bought roses and planted them this year…I am not sure where he got them from but does it matter after they are planted in his garden? I do not think he uses any fertilizer..just waters them.

  3. Thanks for the great hydrosol recipe. I just pruned my lemon verbena bush and made a gorgeous hydrosol of the leaves. It’s cooling now. My kitchen smells refreshing 🙂 Thanks again.

  4. question, what do u think about making a multi hydrosol? as in using 2 or 3 herbs at a time in one pot? i have oily acne prone skin and was thinking of doing thyme, lemongrass and rosemary. Also, love from Jamaica!!! lol.

    • Thank you for your all the info.I greatly appreciate. My question for you today is Can I use heabal tea to make hydrosol? I have tons of heabal tea that I can’t use up. Thanks

      • Hi Earthelie,

        I think teas would be a lovely addition to some other herbs. Especially if you have a nice green tea! As far as just using tea leaves alone, you may want to consult Dr. Google, because even though I LOVE TEA, I haven’t yet made a hydrosol of it! 🙂

  5. How neat! I read about this process and it seemed too complicated. You really simplified this!!! Thank you so much!!!

  6. Hi there! I’m so excited to have found a simplified explanation on how to do this. I absolutely can’t wait to try this with lemon verbena, lime basil, and lemon balm as well as all my other plants frpm my garden. I do have a couple questions though. I’m very new to soap making and things of that nature so maybe you’ll know the answer to this, can I use a hydrosol in a soap/lotion/lip balm recipe or is it too risky being that it has water in it? Then I started thinking, since it’s distilled it might not be an issue. Also, is it possible to use a preservative like optiphen, optiphen plus, germiben, etc., in order to keep from having to leave this in the fridge at all times? Thanks again!

    • Hi Dominique,

      I am not well versed in the preservative arena, so you’d have to give that one a try on your own. I’d love to know how it goes for you though! All of your herbs sound quite lovely. Hydrosol is absolutely a great addition to any of the recipes that call for water, tea, etc. Just store it accordingly. Cheers, and happy hydrosol-ing 🙂 Jerica

  7. Hi Jerica,
    I have visited your webpage a few times in search of perfume/body spray recipes and I did find plenty. Thank you! I do have one question though: I shop on amazon all the time and I wasn’t quite sure how that works. Do I need to enter the amazon site via that link below?

    • Hi Machla, Thanks for stopping by! Yes, if you enter Amazon through my link at the bottom of my website, I will earn a commission on your purchases. You will need to enter Amazon through that link every time though. I thank you very much for considering me! Every little bit helps 🙂

  8. A few questions: the thing that has always confused me about this method is how the lid handle doesn’t get in the way. All my pots have a knob or some such in the middle of the lid, do you specifically need one that only has handles on the side? Does it matter?
    Secundo, what is the shelf life of these hydrosols? How do they compare to professionally distilled store-bought hydrosols?
    Thanks very much 🙂

    • I don’t think the knob will make too much of a difference. Just give it a shot. Also, mine stayed good for about 6 weeks in the fridge. The hydrosol I buy from Mountain Rose Herbs stats good for quite a bit longer, if I remember right, it was something along the lines of 8 months. Since mine was free to make at home, for me it was a fair trade 😉

  9. Hi,miss i am harbal doctor .my best wishsh for you .very good ida for rosewater prepearGOD blessyou and your lovely baby

  10. Hi! I hope you’re still taking questions. I’m having a hard time finding an answer. Can you make rose water with miniature roses? I know it’s best to use ones you grow on your own so you can be sure there are no pesticides. But I live in an apartment, so indoor mini roses are about my only shot. Any advice? Wpuld it even be worth the effort for having to use so many?

  11. Hi! I was wondering if this DIY would work with dried petals and herbs? Or do they have to be fresh?

    • Hayley I have made Rose Water using organic dried rose petals from Mountain Rose Herbs. Boil 2 cups of water. Next put 1 cup of dried rose petals in a glass bowl and pour the boiled water over it. Cover and steep for 30 mins. Strain your water and store in the fridge. Your water will be red or pink depending on the type of dried rose petals you use but I think it’s pretty that way : )

  12. Pingback: DIY Rose Water | The Cooper Farm
  13. Thank you for the tutorial visiting from soap class. I did this once came out lovely, but could not find my recipe.. Thank you…

  14. I am making geranium hydrosol right now per the instructions. I’m already at 30 min and only have a few drops. How much do YOU typically get from your process when you do this?

  15. This is a great post!
    Do you think that is is important to used distilled water?. The tap water where I am living is very hard.

  16. Dump the water from the bag in a potted/grassed plot plant. Same with the water from boiling spaghetti noodles

  17. HI, Helen ABOVE, Asked this question, I did not see anybody post an answer and Would please like to know an answer for her questions…here her question is again:

    I am making geranium hydrosol right now per the instructions. I’m already at 30 min and only have a few drops. How much do YOU typically get from your process when you do this?

    • Definitely more that a few drops 30 minutes in! I’d say I had probably a few cups last time I made one. It’s been a year at least since I’ve made one so I am a little foggy on the exact amount.

  18. Hi, My question needs more of an answer about Hydrosols please and not merely Rose Water. Somebody asked above if they could use organic DRIED flowers and Herbs, but you answered the question with an answer related to Rose Water, not a Hydrosole. So, I will ask the question a NEW way. Can somebody make a Hydrosole from using Dried Flower and or Herbs, not just a water, like you stated above with steeping the dried flowers and herbs like a TEA, No, I was wondering can an actual Hydrosole be created. Thanks very much and I LOVE all the work you put into this, wow!!

    • I’m not qualified to answer this correctly because I’ve never worked with dried matter for a hydrosol. I don’t want to steer you wrong. What does Google say? If you try it, report back! 🙂

    • Yes you can use dried plant material for hydrosols and the steam will suck out all the goodness. Using non-dried slows down the process. Takes a very long time.

      • I am confused then Larushka, You say use Dried, is quicker and the author here used fresh….what is a girl to do. I need some more details please Laushka

  19. Can this hydrosol water (I made Lemon) be kept in a cool dark cupboard or does it have to be refrigerated?

  20. hi! I just purchased some dried pink rose from MRH. Can I use that in substitution fro fresh rose?

  21. These directions are so easy to follow, I’m going to make it with some roses that came in late. Just dying to try it☺

  22. Just stumbled on this, not sure if you are still answering questions… but could you use essential oils in this as well? If I wanted to make a lavender eucalytus blend hydrosol would i add several drops of each and then do the same thing?

    • Yes and no. I think adding certain essential oils to the finished product would be fine. I would only do oils that I am comfortable applying “neat” or undiluted. Like lavender. Since essential oils need a carrier oil, and there is none in the finished product, you would need to shake vigorously before using to distribute the oil. Also, you then would not want to use this on sensitive populations with the ‘neat’ oil in it.
      If you are asking if you can use essential oils in place of the herbal material all together for the distillation, I would not recommend that.

    • Great question, Betty! I honestly have no idea… My gut instinct tells me freezing may destroy some of the delicate properties of the hydrosol; but that is just a random guess. You should try it and report back. If nothing else, you may have some lovely scented water ready for summer spritzing 🙂

  23. I am doing this for the first time and it is taking more than 1.5 hrs so far. I am wondering if your glass bowl is higher than the edge of the pot or lower. The 2nd pic looks lower. Mine is higher.

Speak your mind! But, be kind :)