Can I make something like rose water quickly?

I just got the first apricots of the season at my farmers market and want to make jam. My recipe calls for saffron (got that) and two (2) drops of rose water (don't have). I don't need rose water enough to justify buying a bottle of it, particularly when I only need two drops at the moment. But I have plenty of fragrant roses blooming right now, so is there something I can do with those to make something approximating rose water? Has to be fast, as the apricots won't hold! Thanks.

Diana B
  • Posted by: Diana B
  • April 26, 2014


Diana B. May 9, 2014
Thank you, Maedl! I've had rose petal jelly, but never thought about making it. I volunteer in the Huntington Library's rose garden, too, so I'd have plenty of heirloom rose petals to choose from and they are not sprayed or fed chemical stuff, so I may give that a try. I wish I'd known about the monastery's jelly in Venice before, as I was there last spring.
Maedl May 7, 2014
I know you've already bought that rosewater (which I think was a fine solution because you'll find other uses for it), but here's an idea for the next time. I came across rose petal jelly at an open-air history museum near Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria. Rose petals are added to sugar, water and pectin, cooked until it is jelly-consistency, then strained and bottled. It is quite ethereal, looks gorgeous, and tastes divine. I think it would be worth tossing rose petals into your apricot mix and cooking them as part of the jam. I would leave them in--they are edible.

Choose your roses carefully. First, make sure they have not been sprayed with chemicals. Secondly, ensure that you choose a rose with a heavenly scent. If it doesn't have a scent, it won't provide flavor. Heirloom roses will be the best bet--the Damascene rose (Rosa damascena) or the Apothecary rose would be my first choices.

Meanwhile, this post on rose petal jelly made in a monastery in the Venetian lagoon may give you more ideas:
FYI-- Rose water freezes well in an ice cube tray, then enclose in an airtight container.
Diana B. April 28, 2014
Well, that just shows you're smarter than I am or have a better memory than mine!
Greenstuff April 28, 2014
Hah! Good one! Last time I made rose hip jam was circa 1975.
Diana B. April 28, 2014
Oh, please don't apologize! One has to try these things once in a while. And when they work, you can feel all puffed up! Or not. Reminds me of rose hip jam. I make it about every decade because it takes 10 years or so to remember what a pain in the A$s it is...
Greenstuff April 28, 2014
Too funny, Diana B! Sorry if I helped lead you on a wild goose chase. Truth is that even though I made my own rose water a long, long time ago, I have a commercial bottle in my cupboard at all times!
Diana B. April 28, 2014
I just trundled over to the hole-in-the-wall Middle Eastern market in town and found I could buy 10 oz. of rose water for $1.50 - why didn't I just start there? I must have had Williams Sonoma or Gelson's prices in my mind for the stuff...
Diana B. April 28, 2014
Yossy, nice to run into you here on Food52! As I said, I've made the recipe before without the rosewater, and it was delicious!
Yossy A. April 28, 2014
Hi Diana, Yossy here, the author of the recipe. I just wanted to chime in and let you know that the jam is delicious with or without the rosewater so feel free to leave it out if you do not have any.
BoulderGalinTokyo April 28, 2014
The rose water will depend on the roses you used. I was told to use light colored roses, white, soft pink, light yellow which I didn't like very much. I liked the rose water from stronger red roses like Don Juan but that might change the color of your jam.
The French roses really work best--I like the Delbard series that are very fragrant--Dames de Chenonceau and Nahema. I will be trying Peche Bonbons this year.

And apricots aren't out yet here so I'll look forward to your jam recipe. Thanks for sharing!
Diana B. April 27, 2014
Oh, dear. Well, I guess I won't use it, then. Wonder what I did wrong?

I have made the recipe before with just the saffron, and as you guessed, it's delicious anyway! Thanks, Chris.
Greenstuff April 27, 2014
Yes, I'm sorry, but the result should smell like roses rather than vegetables. As it says in your recipe (which looks great) rose water is generally perfume-y. Sorry yours isn't, but I'm guessing your jam is delicious anyway.
Diana B. April 27, 2014
Chris, is the result supposed to smell like roses? It's rather vegetal...

Arcane, I'd be happy to share the recipe, which with that little bit of saffron is simply gorgeous, not to mention tasty!
arcane54 April 27, 2014
Many thanks Diana B! Can't wait to try this. I would encourage you to purchase the bottle -- you'll find ways to use it if you have it hanging about. I've just added a bit of rosewater (and orange blossom water) to a homemade pomegranate syrup (aka grenadine) and it's a wonderful addition to rhubarb desserts. I use just a splash in fruit salads. The bottles are pretty shelf stable and BONUS, you can scent your bath with it -- a nice way to relax after all that hard work in the kitchen!
arcane54 April 26, 2014
Diana B - can you share your lovely recipe for apricot jam? It sounds intriguing. We're a month or more away from Blenheim season here, but I want to be prepared with a unique recipe like the one you describe.
Greenstuff April 26, 2014
That would be about right! Since you're only using a few drops, you should make something else with the rest. Homemade rosewater doesn't last too long.

Good luck with the jam.
Diana B. April 26, 2014
Gosh, now I see why it costs what it does - 40 minutes simmering netted me maybe 2 tablespoons! But, it's more than enough for my purposes - can't wait to see if it actually makes a difference in the final taste of the jam.
Greenstuff April 26, 2014
There's lot's of advice on the web about making rosewater, including just treating it like a tea, and since you need so little, you might go that way. My favorite method is at-home steam distillation, a little more complicated, but still very do-able. This site shows the method quite nicely

The most important thing is that you know where your roses come from (which it sounds like you do) and that you've given them no pesicides.

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