This week , I’m sort of revisiting my Iranian roots by discussing the origin and different uses of Rose water. Nowadays it is more and more fashionable to use it , in perfumes , cooking , baking and different beautifying regimes.
My first encounter with rose water was many years ago in Turkey on a family holiday. Then I found it weird and it tasted like soap…oops! Ah, children! 🙂
But now as I’m older I can feel the true aroma better and enjoy it as it meant to be.
Rose water was first produced by Muslim chemists in the medieval Islamic world through the distillation of roses, for use in the drinking and perfumery industries.
Since ancient times, roses have been used medicinally, nutritionally, and as a source of perfume. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Phoenicians considered large public rose gardens to be as important as crop lands such as orchards and wheat fields.
Rose perfumes are made from rose oil, also called attar of roses, which is a mixture of volatile essential oils obtained by steam-distilling the crushed petals of roses, a process first developed in Iran (Persia). Rose water is a by-product of this process. It has been suggested that the Persian polymath Avicenna discovered how to make rose water in the tenth century.
Rose water has a very distinctive flavour and is used heavily in Persian and Middle east cuisine—especially in sweets such as nougat, raahat and baklava. For example, rose water is used to give some types of Turkish delight their distinctive flavours.
In Iran, it is also added to tea, ice cream, cookies and other sweets in small quantities, and in the Arab world, Pakistan and India it is used to flavour milk and dairy-based dishes such as rice pudding. It is also a key ingredient in sweet lassi, a drink made from yogurt, sugar and various fruit juices, and is also used to make jallab. In Malaysia and Singapore, rose water is mixed with milk, sugar and pink food colouring to make a sweet drink called bandung. Rose water is frequently used as a halal substitute for red wine and other alcohols in cooking.
Marzipan has long been flavoured with rose water. Marzipan originated in the Middle East and arrived in Western Europe by the Middle Ages; it continues to be served as a snack. American and European bakers enjoyed the floral flavouring of rose water in their baking until the 19th century when vanilla flavouring became popular.
In parts of the Middle East, rose water is commonly added to lemonade with mint.
Cosmetic and medicinal use
Rose water is a usual component of perfume. A rose water ointment is occasionally used as an emollient, and rose water is sometimes used in cosmetics such as cold creams.
Medicinal use , Ayurveda: In India, rose water is used as eye drops to clear them. Some people in India also use rose water as spray applied directly to the face for natural fragrance and moisturizer, especially during winters. It is also used in Indian sweets and other food preparations (particularly gulab jamun). Rose water is often sprinkled in Indian weddings to welcome guests.
Rose water is used as a perfume in religious ceremonies (Hindu, Muslim and Zoroastrian). Water used to clean the Kaaba, the Qibla for Muslims located in Mecca, combines Zamzam water with rose water as an additive.
Rose water is used in some Hindu rituals as well. Rose water also figures in Christianity, particularly in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
I think we can all agree on the fact that Rose water has endless uses… use it inside and out it will benefit you.
For some of us , it might take time to get use to the taste, but I think if we use the right amount and we got the right recipe , simply cannot go wrong.
I experimented with rose water , by adding sugar to it and pouring it on ice cream and panna cotta, it was fantastic.
I will look for other alternatives to try with Rose water… maybe adding it to my bath water! 😀
I hope you will all try it!