About mid July, I looked out the kitchen window at the abundance of wild roses in my yard and started thinking about the rose water I use in my lotion recipes. I began collecting petals every day until I had enough to try the steam distilling method. This is about a week's worth of petals - they stay fresh in the fridge. Here's what you do (the post title links to a great YouTube video too):
Start with a large pot and put a heavy bowl upside down in the middle - it has to be heavy or it'll float. I'm using the mortar from my grandfather's mortar & pestle. Start filling petals around the upside down bowl to about the top of it - way more than in this photo. Then add distilled water - no measuring here, just so the petals are floating but don't go above the top of the upside down bowl.
Next, put a small bowl on top of the upside down bowl like this. The distilled rose water will be collected in this bowl.
Put the top on - inverted. Bring the water in the pot to a boil and add ice to the inverted top. The steam from the boiling water rises, condenses when it hits the ice cold top and drips into the bowl - voila rose water!
It's hard to see in this picture, but the petals are very pale from being boiled and there's a splash of rose water in the bowl. With as many petals as I had, I made three batches.
Here's the end result - steam distilled rose water to use in culinary and skin care recipes.
Another way to do it, although it's not steam distilled so not as potent, is to boil the petals, strain them and use the water for facial toners, etc. Here's a YouTube video showing this method and my strained water left over from steam distilling. If I add some vegetable glycerin and aloe to this in small batches it will make a lovely face toner. Looks like I'll have enough to last a lifetime!
Oh yeah, the house smells great too!