Valentine's Day is tomorrow, and there will be a lot of folks receiving flowers as a token of affection.
Here's a use for those roses in a week's time, when they aren't looking quite as fresh anymore. Or you could make rose petal jelly. A side note: if nobody got you roses, go buy some for yourself if you want. There's nothing wrong with giving yourself a treat. I used to buy myself fresh flowers once a month, just because they made me happy. Heck a few weeks ago I bought myself a Reece's chocolate haha.
Rose water is great for more than just cooking! It's also used in personal beauty care. It's a mild astringent and a ph balancer that is great for cleansing your face, reducing puffiness, spots and redness, and removing fine lines and wrinkles. I also like to apply it to my scalp for a cleansing effect and spritz it into my hair when it needs a little freshening between washes. (I have very oily hair. Folks with drier hair might not like how coarse rose water makes their locks feel.) Mixed with a little honey, cucumber, or aloe vera gel it makes a cooling face mask or after sun lotion, as well.
Rose water costs a lot in the grocery store, but you can make it at home in half an hour with wilted roses! A word of caution: use roses that are certified organic or that haven't been sprayed with pesticides for this project. More and more florists are offering organic blooms, so just ask!
Start with a half dozen large roses, you can use wilted roses that have been sitting in a vase for a few days or even wild roses harvested from outside. You can use roses of any color, although only red or pink will give you that deep "rosy" color. I used purple for one batch and I thought it came out a lovely lavender shade. Gently peel the petals from the roses (it's ok if you feel a little morbid tearing petals off a flower, I do too) and rinse in cool water to remove any dirt, dust, or small bugs from outside. You want a 1 to 2 ratio of roses to water - so 1 qt loosely packed rose petals to 2 qt water. I pack my rose petals into an old coffee maker that I use for the animals - definitely don't do this in the coffee maker you use for your morning brew! OR You can heat your 2 qt water in a small pot, add your petals, and cover it with a lid. You want your petals to soak in the hot water, just hot not near boiling, for 30 minutes. You'll notice the water turning pink, then red and the petals will start to lose their color, turning white. After 30 minutes brewing, your rose water is ready. Strain out the petals and transfer to a glass jar or jars. Rose water keeps a long time in the fridge or can be frozen for even longer storage. You can add a teaspoon of honey or aloe vera gel while it is hot to incorporate them into the rose water.
Some rose water uses:
Facial cleanse - Use a cotton pad moistened with rose water to cleanse and tone your skin after washing your face. You can add honey to this for help with acne and acne scars. You can also use a small spray bottle to spritz your face with rose water, let it sit for a few minutes, and then dry your face with a soft cloth.
Hair - Use as a rinse on oily hair for a brightening effect, or spritz into your roots from a spray bottle to calm an irritated scalp. Be aware that rose water will strip some hair dyes, so if your hair is colored you'll want to be careful. Folks with dry hair should apply rose water before a shower, leave it in for 20 minutes and then rinse and shampoo as normal to soothe irritation in the scalp.
After Sun Lotion - Mix aloe vera gel and rose water in equal parts and apply to sunburned skin for relief. You can mix rosewater with cucumber for a refreshing paste to soothe irritated skin.