If you could capture the magnificent essence of roses and put it in a bottle, would you?
I would. Even if the gardens weren’t yet all in, even if you couldn’t get in or out of the front door, for the pile of dirty laundry waiting to be walked to the washer. The roses are ready and are fleeting.
With my trusty enamel pot in hand, I visited the rose bush out back and carefully plucked her petals. She was ready to let them go; she’s been sprinkling the earth below with a gentle shower of those petals for a few days now.
Find yourself a helper if you can; tasks like these are best shared.
Go ahead. Bury your face in there so you can really smell them. Drink it in.
Nestle an upturned glass into the center of the pot. Fill with cold water to just above the level of the petals. Revel in how lovely it is to try plunging them under, how lovely it is to pull your hands out of the water, covered in rose petals.
Place a dish for collecting the rose water on top of the upturned glass. Don’t kid yourself – it need not be big. This custard dish fit the task perfectly.
Place the lid on, upside down. Be sure that the center of the upturned lid is centered above the collecting dish, but not touching. When the water is boiling, fill the lid with ice cubes. This causes the rose-infused water vapor to condense on the lid, follow the curve downward, and run right into the collecting dish. Be careful not to boil too long or the delicate essence will become over-cooked. I would recommend not doing this while waiting for the school bus to arrive. You should really give it your full attention. (take note, Self.)
This is the rose water I collected. It’s scant and precious, indeed.
I poured it into the jar immediately, while still hot. Essential oils are volatile and will drift away just as easily from your rose water as they did from the petals you collected.
So you’ve made some rose water. Hooray. Now what?
Bake with it.
Ice cream, anyone?
Or put it on a cool, dark shelf somewhere safe and consider yourself rich.
You get the idea.