Thursday, June 13, 2013

gather and make

The wild roses are blooming and blooming. Sweet, spicy, musky, floral; I am smitten with their exotic but familiar scent. The other day I spent about an hour wandering around the periphery of our yard gathering the soft petals. Then I made my way down the beach and gathered up some more. (A pretty dreamy activity, I must say.) I had two ideas in mind for these lovely petals, the first was to make a batch of rose water, the second to make rose infused oil.

To make the rose water, I simply placed the fresh petals in a pot, covered them with pure water, and simmered them gently until the color had left them and the water had taken on the rosy tint. (This took about 15 minutes.) After straining the petals, rose water can be stored in the refrigerator for a month or more. I love to use it as a facial toner before bed, or put it in a bottle with a mister top to hydrate and refresh your face anytime.

For the infused oil, I let the petals dry for several days until most of the moisture was gone. (Too much moisture can cause the oil to go rancid and cloudy.) The petals are still so fragrant, even after drying.

Next, I packed the dry petals into a clean jar and poured oil over them until they were completely covered. I used a blend of sunflower and jojoba oil as both are light and have a long shelf life. I chose a jar with a wire bail lid that seals tightly with a rubber gasket.

Now I will let the sun do its work by simply placing the jar in direct sunlight. Each day I'll shake it around a bit, and if I notice the petals have soaked up the oil, I'll add more to be sure they remain fully covered. After 4 to 6 weeks of solar infusion, I'll strain away the petals and be left with beautiful rose infused oil. It's perfect to use as a nourishing and uplifting body oil, or as a base to blend with other essential oils to make your own custom massage oil. If I have time I'm going to make another batch in hopes of bottling some up for a limited edition in the shop! I'll also be making calendula infused oil this summer. Has anyone else experimented with solar infused oils? If so, what did you make?

A nerdy side note for those interested: I have three different types of wild roses blooming in my yard and at the beach, dwarf wild rose (rosa gymnocarpa), clustered wild rose (rosa pisocarpa), and the larger blossomed Nootka rose (rosa nutkana). The petals I gathered are a blend of all three, but mostly from the prolific Nootka. 

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