Do you ever have those instances where something just keeps popping up in your life over & over & over again? Recently this happened to me with rose & rose water. It all began just after the new year: I was visiting my acupuncturist at home & she introduced me to rose essential oil. She explained that she used rose around the new year to help her patients detoxify from the holiday season. I loved the scent & how it held the promise of new beginnings & fresh starts. Since then, everywhere I look I’ve been finding rose, rosehips, & rosewater incorporated into recipes, featured on menus, & written about by numerous websites. While in LA, I again ran into this mysterious flower.
First, it was in an amazing lemonade at Cafe Gratitude (more on that coming soon!):
Then, in desperate search for a juice one day, I found rosewater again at Kreation Juice (another health mecca I can’t wait to share more on!):
I’ve always loved flowers & have been inclined towards more perfume-y food & drink, so rosewater is naturally right up my alley. Rosewater is made from the distillation of rose petals, here’s one description of the process: First, pick some fresh rose petals early in the morning after sunrise. Wash the petals thoroughly & place the petals in a large pot of distilled water. Cover the pot with a lid & boil in a low flame. Allow the water to steam until the water has changed to the color of a rose petal. Then, simply strain the water & cool- Isn’t that dreamy?!
In Chinese Medicine, rose has sweet, slightly bitter, & warm properties. Rose is associated with the Liver & Spleen meridians, so it makes sense that my acupuncturist would use the oil for detox! Rose helps to regulate qi (or “life force”), remove blood stagnation, nourish skin, & improve digestion. Rose can also be used to treat ailments including distended stomach & external injury pain.
The Scent: Rose scents, along with other florals like lavender, has been sited to work as stress relievers in aromatherapy. I’ve always been a fan of floral scents to help me relax. I mean, who wouldn’t feel less stressed when inhaling the heavily aroma of such flowers? Just thinking about it transports me to a tranquil garden!
The Oil: When applied topically, rose oil & rosewater can help tighten & firm the skin. Rose can also alleviate the visibility of pores & even help combat acne. Rose oil can also be incredibly nourishing for hair, as it helps alleviate dandruff & reduce breakage.
The Ingredient: My favorite use of this flower! Rosewater was predominately used in Persian cooking during the medieval ages before it spread into the cuisines of the Middle East & Asia. Rosewater & rosehips (the fruit of the rose plant) are excellent sources of antioxidants & vitamins A & C. Rosewater can be used in both sweet & savory dishes, as well as in drinks. I first read about rosewater in the Ottolenghi cookbook ages ago but, like with most of those inspiring recipes, I was a bit intimidated to try it. Luckily, with my recent rose inundation, this intimidation has subsided & I’ve been experimenting with this new flavoring.
How did I first taste rosewater? In a smoothie, of course! See below for the recipe I concocted.
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
a handful (or two!) of ripe strawberries
2-3 large handfuls of spinach, kale, or other leafy green
2-4 pitted dates
1 tsp spirulina (I add this super supplement to all of my morning smoothies– it’s the best energy boost!)
1 tbsp flax meal (optional, but helps thicken)
1/2-1 tsp rosewater (start off with less rosewater than you may want to add– it can be quite strong)
1/2-1 cup of hemp milk (or nut milk of choice)
Simply place all ingredients into a blender & blend until smooth! Adjust the amount of rosewater & hemp milk to taste.
This smoothie was delicious & really got me in the spring-y mindset! It’s a great foray into this exotic ingredient.
For more rosy culinary exploration, check out these recipes:
Purple Power Salad by My New Roots
Rhubarb & Rosewater Syrup by 101 Cookbooks
Watercress & Chickpea Soup by Yotam Ottolenghi
Rosehip & Mango Smoothie by In the Making by Belen
No matter how you choose to experience rose, I suggest everyone incorporates this flower into their lives. Even if it’s just buying yourself a bouquet of this beautiful bloom– roses in any form can brighten up the dreariest of days!