In the last few days you may have noticed delicate pink flowers blooming all over Anchorage. From the side of the Seward Highway to your backyard, wild roses are in full force this season. The roses, which grow in thickets, are very useful. The petals, which bloom in early summer, are edible and can be added to salads, made into syrup, made into jelly or used to make rose water. In late summer rose hips ripen. Rose hips can be eaten raw, cooked, used in tea, used in jams, used in sauces, or baked into breads and other baked goods.
I took advantage of the thickets growing by my apartment’s parking lot. In 20 minutes I had gathered enough rose petals to make 750 ML of rose water (that’s enough to fill a wine bottle).
When harvesting the petals make sure the flower is bloomed and that you only remove the petals. Removing the whole flower also removes the reproductive parts of the plant. Be aware that the prickly rose lives up to its name, as the stems are lined with small thorns.
I didn’t use an exact recipe and picked the petals until I had filled an average sized tupperware container (approximately two cups). Once you have gathered your petals it’s important to clean the petals in warm water. Do this delicately.
After you’ve cleaned your petals dump them into a small pot and put heat on low. Fill the pot with water until the rose petals are submerged and completely saturated in the water.
Place a glass lid over the pot and heat on low until the petals have turned white. Occasionally stir the petals around, making sure they are consistently under the water. It took about 45 minutes for my rose petals to turn white.
Once the petals are white take the pot off the heat and pour the water in a bowl using a sieve to filter out the petals and any other foreign objects.
Congratulations, you just made rose water. The tint of the water is golden yellow. Rose water can be used in a variety of different products. Rose water is added to both food and drink all over the world, but especially in the Middle East. A popular ingredient in cosmetics, rose water is a popular additive of perfumes and other beauty products. With anti-inflammatory properties and anti-aging benefits rose water makes a great all-natural toner and moisturizer that has been used for centuries, dating all the way back to Ancient Egypt. Rose water is even combined with the water from the Zamzam Well to clean the Kaaba in Mecca.
Note that all measurements are approximate and additions of more sugar will create a coarser more “rocky” scrub, while more oil will be more moisturizing. Any kind of oil can be used. I originally used coconut oil, but found the coconut smell was overpowering.
1/2 cup of rose water
3 cups of sugar
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 drop of red food coloring
1. In a medium sized bowl pour in the sugar, the rose water, the oil, and food coloring.
2. Mix thoroughly with a fork until you’ve reached the desired consistency.
This scrub is best used in the shower as an exfoliate.