November 14, 2008

Make the Most of Roses: Rosewater

Centennial, Electron, Compassion

We're approaching the end of Spring in this southern hemisphere and the weather is quite temperamental. After almost a week without rain, the soil has become dry and we have to attend the garden for watering, more than we should have done in this season, as we're still germinating some seeds for the next crops. While the days have been so windy, it is difficult for us to do some spraying whilst aphids have yet been attacking our cherry trees. We use pyrethrum to spray aphids and bronze beetles in order to be parallel with organic gardening and the safer environment, but this can't be done in windy days. But for my roses, I usually mix garlic and baking soda for more organic 'pesticide'. Sometimes, it works, other time it fails. It just is depending on how much rain we have and how much time I have the opportunity to do the regular spraying. When it's raining or windy, it is impossible to be in the timetable.

I plant my own roses. Most of them are bush varieties, ranged from Floribunda, and Hybrid Teas, besides climbing and patio varieties. Most of my roses are those developed by the Father of rose, a famous rosarian, David Austin.

First time planting back in 2003, we only had 15 bushes, now it's about 30-something bushes including those I grow (fortunately) from cuttings. I refuse to except the term 'green thumbs or green fingers' because I believe everyone can do gardening whenever she/he wants and is able to spend time for looking after plants. Fail or not, it is depending on how someone cares or looks after the plants or not. You can't really plant a bunch of parsley and ignore it for days while you're going socializing somewhere and expect your parsley will thrive without watering or such.

before and after pruning

Perhaps, some of you may think that roses are fussy plants, but you know what, they will give you as much rewards as you give them care for. Yes, they need good soil enrichen with manure (they love horse manure, although some gardeners prefer sheep pellets!), plenty of sun, and water in Summer. They have to be pruned in Winter to remove the hard and dead stalks to ensure young growths next year. The dead buds should be picked to give prolong live till Autumn. They also need to be watched out from aphids and other diseases such as mildew and so forth, but this is a part of the maintenance itself.

roses bed in summer

I don't really think this is a heavy task because I just love being in the garden. I love to watch my flowers growing from seeds or stems into plants which give me flowers or fruits. I love to be able to pick my own flowers in my own garden and arrange them in pots for tables or chests at home. I love to breath the rose-scented air in our bedroom (romantic?). Roses make me happy. Don't they say that rose is the symbol of wisdom, purity, love, beauty and grace which have been mankind's companion for thousand years? Why not try plant a pot or two in your garden, then you'll know exactly how I feel. After all, the rewards are yours.

As much as positive properties a roses has, I just love to make rosewater myself. Sometimes, if I need to, I would bathe in rosewater and lavender essential oil. The recipe is simple: pick rose petals and lavenders. Have ready boiling water and then pour these flowers in a saucepan, pour the boiling water in, cover with the lid, and leave it rest for at least 30 minutes (that if you can't really wait). Pour the water into your bath water, soak in. Relax.

When making rosewater for culinary purpose, I use David Austin's old English rose, which the name I forgot. The petals are small (unlike those of floribunda or hybrid tea cousins) and the scent it pleasantly sweet, the scent which you won't forget forever, and its colour is purplish. It is a kind of climbing rose, almost similar to Gertrude Jekyll. When they have finished flowering, they tend to develop hips which are deep orange colour.

English Rose

Homemade Rosewater (1)

In making rosewater, there are two ways I usually use. The quicker one is this one. I'll post the other one next.

Old English rose petals
water

A HomeMade Rosewater

Just use less water, as you can always add it later. The less the water, the more fragrant your rosewater will be. Boil the water, and then add in the petals. Cover the lid. Leave it cool, and then keep it in the fridge overnight. Strain and sqeeze out the remaining water from the petals. Put in a bottle or bottles. Lidded. Keep in the fridge. I usually use this within a week because it does not contain of preservative, or put them in a ice-cube trays. Freeze them, remove from the trays. Put them in the freezer-safe bags. Use them for later use, especially when it is not Summer anymore.

31 comments:

Vij said...

Lovely prelude!!! as always I reaaallly loved the pics!

Cakelaw said...

What beautiful roses! I had never dreamed that you could make rosewater at home - just like some folk think that milk comes in cartons, I thought that rosewater came from the gorumet shop.

Mira Assjarif said...

Mba, thanks lo sharing soal rosewater ini. Gak nyangka kalo bisa juga bikin sendiri. Kayaknya patut dicoba nih. Soalnya di Indo kan jarang banget jual yang beginian.

Aparna said...

Your roses look so beautiful. True, lavish care on your plants and they will bloom for you.

Apart from rosewater, In India a kind of jam is made from rose petals and sugar called Gulkand. This is kept in the sun to melt the sugar and turn it to jam. Gulkand is supposed to have medicinal properties in Ayurveda.

Mandira said...

arfi, this looks beautiful! The pics are absolutely gorgeous :)

Happy cook said...

I love the pictures and love the colour of the rose water

Ivy said...

Arfi, apart from being an excellent cook, great photographer, you are also a great gardener. You've brought so many memories back with your post. I think I can actually remember the fragrance of those bush pink roses my mum used to make rose water but she used a different method distilling them and that didn't need refrigerating. She also used to make a spoon sweet out of the same variety of roses which was fantastic.
Your daughter is so cute!!

Maryann said...

I didn't know about the rosewater either. Thanks :) Your photo is so pretty!

Peter G said...

I'm hopeless at gardening and obviously you aren't! Beautiful pics Arfi and rosewater is a def favourite here...the fragrance is really mesmerising!

Penny said...

I love roses, especially the old fashioned ones, and the new "old fashioned" style ones. They have such great history! I have 2 in my garden at present. I'd have more but I find I don't have enough time to care for them properly, and our micro-climate is not so suitable for them really.

I used to make pot pourri when younger with my roses from my old garden. I also went along to the Parnell rose garden when they were pruning and extracted the petals from the pruning piles!

Y said...

I love your roses! And that pink hue from your homemade rosewater is so pretty.

Retno Prihadana said...

Kapan-kapan aku ikutan nyontekkk ah. Thanks for sharing. Musti nungguin taon depan yaakk, sekarang lagi berguguran semuanya.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

That shot of your daughter makes me think of titling it, "Innocence and Beauty."

sunita said...

Arfi, That is such a lovely garden...shows the love you tender towards your rose bushes.

Btw, did I tell you that rose water is also very good for the skin :-)

linda said...

How lovely to make your own rosewater. No garden here and the balcony is N-W so no roses for me. Love their smell a lot. Pity that roses you buy in flower shops very rarely have a scent.

Lael said...

I never considered making rosewater myself, but why not?! When I run out of my bottle I purchased last month, I'll give this a try (if I can find the right roses). I absolutely love rose water. How do you generally use it?

Rosie said...

Beautiful roses and what a lovely garden you have. I've never made my own rose water will have to try this out.

Rosie x

Nicole from: For the Love of Food said...

Awesome! I'm so glad you posted this recipe. I've always wondered how it's made!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Your homemade rosewater looks so pretty. I should really plant some roses in the Spring!

Andrea said...

How beautiful! I love the idea of making rose water. I found an amazing book on cooking with roses at an old bookstore. I snapped it up, but I don't have any rose bushes in New York City. Maybe some day!

ellentakdir said...

arfi rosenya cantik2 banget,foto2nya juga,hebat ya ibu yg satu ini masih sempet en bisa bikin air dr bunga rose....wow

Jescel said...

wow.. you are so blessed to be able to grow so much in your garden/farm. and those roses are beautiful.. you must be a very patient person to be able to take care of delicate flower plants such as roses! :oD

casalba said...

What a beautiful post - in every sense.

bee said...

thanks for the wonderful tour and tips, arfi. do you make rose extract with oil? i just made some with lavender. unfortunately, this year i have to use a chemical systemic insecticide for roses since we get a lot of aphids in spring.

Paula said...

Just found your blog via the F.F.F. on The Foodie Blogroll! You have a lovely blog, with amazing photos. I can just imagine how lovely your rose garden smells, and how clever to suggest freezing the rose water!

pennie mills @ ladies blend thymes said...

Just looking at that beautiful delicate bottle of rose water makes me want to make some. I love rose water and putting it ice cube trays is genius. Your blog is beautiful and thanks for visiting mine too. I hope it helped with your recipe.

Zita said...

Awww.... envy...envy..envy, beautiful rose garden, beautiful pics, and beautiful daugther, you could not ask for more!!!;)

Kedai Rachmah said...

Kalo di Surabaya suulit sekali bisa menanam mawar dgn hasil akhir bunga bermekaran cantik semua...panaass.

Selalu seneng, ngeliat kebun mbak Arfi.

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow this is really a simple and awesome way to make rose water. Hmmm now i know your beauty secret. :-)

gaga said...

How pretty! I didn't know you could use rose water for cooking. I look forward to finding out more uses for it.

mycookinghut said...

Very pretty!!