La vie en rosewater.
In the Mediterranean we try to use all-natural products with a deep history of beneficial uses instead of relying on man- or factory-made ones.
This was, of course, initially dictated by the region's lack of buying power and remoteness. But, as the people of these regions slowly gained in wealth and imported products began permeating the local markets, some traditions remain true. Rosewater is one of them.
Rosewater is one of those truly multifaceted products that can be used in the kitchen to sweeten foods as well as in the bathroom and bedroom as a beauty and healing product. Best of all, the luxurious scent of this marvelous little water adds a bit of zest to your cooking without breaking the bank. (It usually costs under $10 for a 12-ounce bottle.)
The homeopathic roots of rosewater date as far back as the ancient Egyptians. According to legend, Cleopatra would take milk baths with rose petals floating to keep her skin soft, smooth, and gloriously scented.
Even in recent times, it's said the streets of Beirut are filled with the scent of rosewater in the late spring and early summer, as the rose petals are pressed, steamed, and distilled to make this many-faceted beauty and food product.
Rosewater for skin
Rosewater is typically spritzed on the faces of women with sensitive skin or rosacea, due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties.
For those with acne, applying rosewater as a tonic reduces the amount of bacteria on the skin, so it makes an excellent all-natural toner for skin that has broken out due to excess oils.
Even for those of us who don't necessarily have problematic skin, rosewater is a gentle, fabulous pick-me-up. The scent awakens your senses better than coffee (well, that may be a stretch, but it does work).
Rosewater enjoys a natural aromatherapy healing to elevate your senses. Rosewater is refreshing, inexpensive, and luxuriously scented, keeping skin soft and hydrated — which is important for all skin types at any age.
Rosewater for men
While some men may scoff at smelling like roses, let me point out that rosewater is an excellent aftershave. It stems from the very same reason that rosewater is good on sensitive skin: It helps to calm irritated skin.
And don't worry about smelling like a girl — the rose scent is light and generally dissipates from skin within the first 30 minutes.
Rosewater in the bath
The calming, luxurious effect that rosewater has on your skin can have the same effect on your other senses. After a long, busy day, a bath in hot water with a few drops of rosewater and any essential oil (my personal favorite is jasmine) relaxes even the most stressed out Type-A out there. Best of all, you go to sleep smelling like a bed of roses, with the added bonus of softer, brighter skin.
Rosewater in the bedroom
Try spritzing your sheets with a bit of rosewater to release the Aphrodite within.
Rosewater in the kitchen
In addition to using rosewater for beauty purposes, try adding a splash of rosewater in the kitchen for a refreshing twist on simple salads (see a couple of recipe ideas below).
Rosewater in the laundry
Give your freshly laundered clothes a little goddess love. Spritz folded clothes with a few sprays of rosewater. Your family (and you!) will love it. It makes your entire wardrobe, closet, and drawers smell heavenly.
Simple pleasures like this go a long way in making one feel luxurious and pampered without spending a fortune.
Moroccan Shredded Cucumber Salad
Used as both an aperitif and as a digestive, this cucumber dish helps to cleanse the palate in between meals and bites.
- 1 English cucumber, peeled (if desired) and shredded
- ½ teaspoon of sugar or stevia to taste
- Sprinkle of dried mint
- 1 tablespoon rosewater
In a large bowl, shred cucumbers, sprinkle in sugar, and stir until fully dissolved. Add mint and rosewater. Place in fridge and allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving.
Watermelon, Basil + Feta Salad
With the extreme heat in Greece, no one has a ravenous appetite, so watermelon and feta can be a simple summertime dinner. Add some fresh bread and a dash of rosewater for an island flair.
- Ripe watermelon, cubed
- Chunk of feta
- Fresh basil, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons rosewater
In a large bowl, combine the above. Enjoy the compliments you will receive on this simple yet exotic salad.
Have I convinced you to give rosewater a whirl? Do you know of any other fantastic recipes that uses this elixir of the goddesses? If so, I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a comment.