Arq-e-Gulab (Rose Water) is made by steeping rose petalsin water. Additionally, it is the a by-product of the production of rose oil for use in perfume. Rose syrup (not to be confused with rose hip syrup) is made from rose water, with sugar added. The usage of rosewater dates back to early Egypt, when Cleopatra used the natural product in her beauty regime. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Phoenicians considered large public rose gardens to be as important as orchards and wheat fields.
Uses of Arq-e-Gulab (Rose Water)
Since ancient times, roses and derivatives have been consumed as a food ingredient, medicinally, and as a source of fragrance.
Rose water has a distinctive flavor and is used routinely in Middle Eastern cuisine, especially in sweets such as nougat, gumdrops, and baklava. In Iran it is also added to tea, ice cream, cookies, and other sweets in small quantities. In Arab countries and the Subcontinent it is used to flavor milk and desserts such as rice pudding. In Malaysia and Singapore, sweet red-tinted rose water is mixed with milk, which then turns pink to make a sweet drink. Rose water is frequently used as a halal substitute for red wine and other alcohols in cooking.
American and European bakers enjoyed the floral flavoring of rose water in their baking until the 19th century when vanilla flavoring became popular. In the historic English county of Yorkshire rose water has long been used as a flavoring for one of that region’s best loved dishes, Yorkshire curd tart.
Cosmetic and medicinal use
In medieval Europe, rose water was used to wash hands at a meal table during feasts.
Rose water is an essential element of rose scented fragrances. 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 for skin disorders such as rosacea and eczema. It is also used as spray applied directly to the face for natural fragrance and moisturizing, especially during winters.
Rose water is used as fragrance in religious ceremonies in some parts of the world. Water used to clean the Kaaba in Mecca combines water from the Zamzam Well with rose water as additive. In the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia during Muslim burials, rose water is often sprinkled in the grave before placing the body inside. Rose water is used in some Hindu rituals as well. Rose water also figures in Christianity, particularly in the Eastern Orthodox Church. In the Baha’i Faith, the Most Holy Book (Kitab-i-Aqdas 1:76)orders the believers to make use of rose water.
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