|Region or state||Europe and Asia|
|Main ingredients||Rose petals|
|Ingredients generally used||Water|
Rose water is a flavoured water made by steeping rose petals in water. Additionally, it is the hydrosol portion of the distillate of rose petals, a by-product of the production of rose oil for use in perfume. It is used to flavour food, as a component in some cosmetic and medical preparations, and for religious purposes throughout Europe and Asia.
Since ancient times, roses have been used medicinally, nutritionally, and as a source of perfume. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Phoenicians considered large public rose gardens to be as important as croplands such as orchards and wheat fields.
Rose perfumes are made from rose oil, also called attar of roses, which is a mixture of volatile essential oils obtained by steam-distilling the crushed petals of roses. Rose water is a by-product of this process. The cultivation of various fragrant flowers for obtaining perfumes, including rose water, may date back to Sassanid Persia, where it was known as golāb (Middle Persian: گلاب), from gul (rose) and ab (water). The term was adopted into Byzantine Greek as zoulápin. The process of creating rose water through steam distillation was refined by Persian and Arab chemists in the medieval Islamic world which led to more efficient and economic uses for perfumery industries.
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It is sometimes added to lemonade, and often added to water to mask unpleasant odours and flavours found in tap water.
American and European bakers often used rose water until the 19th century, when vanilla became popular. It is used in Waverly Jumbles. In Yorkshire, rose water has long been used as a flavouring for the regional specialty, Yorkshire curd tart. In Iran, it is added to tea, ice cream, cookies, and other sweets in small quantities.
In Middle Eastern cuisines, rosewater is used heavily in many dishes, especially in sweets such as nougat, gumdrops, baklava, and Turkish delight (Rahat lokum). Marzipan has long been flavoured with rose water. In Cyprus, Mahaleb's Cypriot version known as μαχαλεπί, uses rose water (ροδόσταγμα). Rose water is frequently used as a halal substitute for red wine and other alcohols in cooking. The Premier League offer a rose water-based beverage as an alternative for champagne when awarding Muslim players. In accordance with the ban on alcohol consumption in Islamic countries, rose water is used instead of champagne on the podium of the Bahrain Grand Prix and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Cosmetic and medicinal use
In medieval Europe, rose water was used to wash hands at a meal table during feasts. Rose water is a usual component of perfume. A rose water ointment is occasionally used as an emollient, and rose water is sometimes used in cosmetics such as cold creams, toners and face wash. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a good tool against skin disorders such as Rosacea and eczema.
Some people in India also use rose water as a spray applied directly to the face as a perfume and moisturizer, especially during the winter; it is often sprinkled in Indian weddings to welcome guests.
Depending on the origin and manufacturing method, rose water is obtained from the sepals and petals of Rosa × damascena through steam distillation. The following monoterpenoid and alkane components can be identified with gas chromatography: mostly citronellol, nonadecane, geraniol and phenyl ethyl alcohol, and also henicosane, 9-nonadecen, eicosane, linalool, citronellyl acetate, methyleugenol, heptadecane, pentadecane, docosane, nerol, disiloxane, octadecane, and pentacosane. Usually, phenylethyl alcohol is responsible for the typical odour of rose water but is not always present in rose water products.
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