And just like that, it was August.
Slowly but surely, summer is slipping quietly out the back door, leaving only a few precious weeks of bursting gardens and heirloom tomatoes and sun-drenched afternoons trailing behind her. I love how everything becomes a little wild this time of year. A little overgrown. Untended. Abundant. Exploding with life. Maybe it's the heat, or the heady scent of jasmine, but these final weeks of summer always makes me a little dreamy. Nostalgic. Less bound to reality.
I'm always looking for ways to preserve the last few golden drops of sunshine and squirrel them away for the coming season. A steaming cup of lemon verbena tea and a jar of wild huckleberry jam can go a long way in the cold dark days of winter. January Hailey is always elated, and a little surprised, that August Hailey had a few fleeting moments of foresight.
Distilling a batch of rose water is one of my favorite late-summer rituals. An ancient remedy, rose water can be used in everything from facial toner to teacakes. Cleopatra swore by rose water for supple skin and, according to legend, Michelangelo drank it every morning with his tea. There is old magic in this stuff. I personally like to sprits a little on clean sheets and laundry, or add a tablespoons to bath water if I'm feeling extra fancy. It can even be used in the kitchen to add a delicate floral note to aromatic dishes and sweets, or as a cooling body mist on hot days. The possibilities are endless. A few minutes of time invested now will pay itself back ten-fold when you have this lovely tincture waiting in your apothecary.
The key to high quality rose water is (surprise, surprise) high quality roses. Be sure to use only fresh organic roses that have never been sprayed with anything. The more fragrant, the better. This is the perfect project for the rose bush out back that has started to shower her petals. There is something deeply satisfying about finding a second life for fading blooms.
You Will Need:
- Fresh, fragrent organic rose petals
- 1 tray of ice cubes
- Large stock pot
- 2 oven safe jars or ramekins
- Distilled water
1. Separate the petals from the roses and rinse with fresh water to remove any dirt or insects.
2. Place petals in a large stock pot.
3. Place a wide-mouth jar or ramekin upside down in the center of the pot. This is essentially just used as a base to lift the second jar off the bottom of the pot. Place the second jar right-side up on the ramekin. This jar will collect the rose water.
4. Fill the pot with water until it just covers the rose petals. The collection jar should be above the water line. Place the lid upside down on the pot and heat on medium until the water begins to boil.
5. As soon as the water boils, place ice cubes on top of the upside-down lid. This will help bring the rose-filled condensation to the center of the lid where it will slowly drip into the waiting collection jar.
6. Gently simmer for 15 - 20 mins or until the petals start to lose their color. Be sure not to over-cook, as this will dilute your rose water and change the fragrance.
7. Turn off the heat and let cool for a minute. Using pot holders, carefully remove the lid which will now be filled with water from the melted ice cubes. Gently remove the jar filled with rose water (careful: it's hot!) and quickly transfer it to a waiting receptacle (or just put a lid on the jar.) The lovely rose oil you have just distilled can slip away as vapors so it's important to contain it quickly.
8. Store in a cool dark place until you need a little splash of summer in your life.
Have a lovely week dear ones.