How To Make Rose Oil & Rose Water

A few months ago I explained how I make rose oil and rose water, and several people have asked me to add these instructions to the site. When I use my herbs to scent oil, I basically use these same methods (below), but I heat the oil by keeping it in another container of very hot water (take the water container off the burner once you put the oil container in it, but re-heat the water as needed)… trying to keep the temperature of the oils very warm, but not hot, for several hours. I have found that (for me) jojoba or even coconut or palm oil picks up the scent and holds it better than olive oil does. The “trick” is to keep adding fresh herbs or flowers (removing the old) and repeating the warming process until the oil is very strongly scented. Depending on the strength of the scent of the herbs or flowers you’re using, you may need to repeat the process many times… but you will end up with a very strongly scented oil that WILL hold the scent, even through saponification and curing. If I’m using jojoba that I have scented, I add it midway through the stirring process. If I’m using scented water or coconut or palm, I use it as part of the original mixture. Many of the old books talk about using a solid fat for this purpose, usually lard. That is what led me to try coconut and palm, because it seemed the closest vegetarian substitute. As I wrote before, this process takes a while, but it is worth it for really special batches of soap.

For rose oil… Gather fresh rose petals and cover with a good oil (pure olive oil is fine). Bruise the petals and leave them in the oil for at least twenty-four hours, then press the petals to remove all the oil. Strain the oil. Repeat the pressing and straining procedures, adding fresh petals each time, for at least six or seven times. The end product will be a wonderfully fragrant oil that works well in soaps.

To make rose water… Pour boiling water over rose petals. Cover the container until the liquid cools, then strain, and if it is not going to be used within a few days, it should be frozen. Start with about a pint of water to a cup of petals and adjust the amount of petals according to the depth of scent you want.

–North Country Soap Making Library

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