With its delicate floral aroma and taste, a few drops of rose water can transform any dish into a luscious delicacy. The versatile liquid is a staple in Middle Eastern cooking, but you can also find it in cosmetics and perfumes as well as in soaps.
There are two methods of making rose water: steam method and distillation. The steam method involves boiling rose petals in water and collecting the vapor that floats to the top of the pot. The distillation process works over a heat source, so it’s a bit more complex but results in a more concentrated liquid.
If you’re looking for an easy way to add a touch of rose flavor to your desserts, consider adding rose water to custard, ice cream, or even homemade jams and compotes. This fragrant, versatile ingredient pairs especially well with vanilla extract or pure vanilla bean, and can help elevate classic fruit-based desserts like apple pie and pound cake.
This delicately fragrant liquid is also great for rounding out the flavors in savory dishes. It complements aromatics such as ginger, cardamom, coriander, cumin, saffron, and more.
If you’re short on rose water, there are a few substitutes you can try: Lemon juice, orange blossom water, or rose essence. Although they’re less concentrated than rose water, these three ingredients can still add a delicate floral flavor to your recipes.