Hydrosols are a fun activity that you can make with kids. It’s easy and creates a versatile product that can be used in a variety of ways while capturing the essence of the plant.
What are Hydrosols?
Hydrosols are a product of steaming plant material with water and collecting the resulting scented water that contains the plant’s essential oils.
One example of a hydrosol is Rose water. Rose water was originally made from the damask roses. It has been used for centuries to add flavor to foods and beverages in China, India and the Middle East. It has also been used since ancient times in cosmetics.
Today I’m offering up this simple tutorial so you and your kids can have fun making your own hydrosols at home. Please be careful when making as you have to work with steam. This recipe is for making a Rose hydrosol but you can use this for any aromatic plant including Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Peppermint, Lavender, Elderflower, and Calendula. If you do not have fresh available, you can use dried materials but remember you’ll need quite a bit of dried material to make it.
You will need:
Fresh Rose petals, the more fragrant the better
Enamel Canner with lid
Glass measuring cup
Water (rainwater is best!)
Place the canner on the stove. Add the brick to the middle of the canner and set the glass measuring cup on top of it.
Sprinkle rose petals all around the brick, filling the bottom of the canner to the top of the brick with petals.
Pour enough water to cover the petals and place the lid on upside down so that it curves into the canner instead of right side up.
Turn on heat and bring to a simmer. Add a handful of ice to the lid of the canner and wait about 1 minute.
Carefully remove the lid, setting aside (do not spill the ice water into the canner) and ladle the water inside the glass measuring cup out and pour it into a bottle.
Replace the lid and keep repeating this process for the next 10-20 minutes until the liquid no longer is fragrant.
Bottle your water and label.
Hydrosols should be used fairly quickly. Try to use within 6 months and for longest stability, store in the refrigerator.
Some Uses for Your Hydrosol
Use as a toner on your face after washing
Gargle as mouthwash
Dabbed on wrists and temples to cool and refreshen
Add 1 Tbsp. to bath water with 1/4 c. powdered milk
Substitute for vanilla in recipes
Mix with glycerin to treat diaper rash
Add to scones and cake recipes for subtle flavor enhancement
Spray into the air for an air freshener
Spray on your pulse points as a natural perfume
Add to lotion or cream recipes in place of water for a subtle scent
Use as a linen spray to freshen your linens
Use as a cleaner
Apply to help clean a wound
Apply to burns
As you can see, hydrosols are very versatile and easy to make! This is a great activity to do with your children while you are learning about herbs.
Do you use hydrosols? Have you ever made any yourself? Share your experiences in the comments!