During this year’s Lemon Tree Trust (LTT) Garden Competition one of our gardeners, Khadeja Tahr Omer, invited LTT’s founder Stephanie Hunt in to her home to try her beloved homemade rose water. Stephanie learned that Khadeja started making rose water 15 years ago when she lived in Syria as a refreshing juice for her children. She told us why making rose water is so significant to her.
“We had a big garden and lots of roses in Syria. My children were asking me to buy them Cola but because our financial situation was not good I told them I will make for them something better! And something healthier! It was my first time doing this, I tried to put some roses in cold water, but nothing happened unfortunately. The second time, I tried the hot water, and it worked finally. I was so happy that this worked, and that I could provide it for my children.”
Rose water is typically made from Juri roses,
a red rose endemic to Syria. It is usually made during the spring when roses
are fresh and ready to harvest, although the petals can also be harvested and cold
stored for later use, and is traditionally used on the body. The syrup-like
water created in Khadeja’s recipe is diluted with cool water to serve and can
be made tart by adding lemon, which is how we tried it during our visit. It was
We were keen to learn about the process and
were so delighted that Khadeja was willing to share her secret recipe. Most of
all, we were inspired by her story and ambitions for the future.
“When we had to leave Syria, I brought the
recipe with me to Iraq. I wish I could have the opportunity to sell this and
make it a business in the camp but because of the small space I couldn’t do it
here,” says Khadeja, “I wish I could open a small project and start selling the
rose water, so more people can enjoy it.”
Thank you for sharing your recipe Khadeja and good luck with your rose water business idea – we love it!
How to make Khadija’s Rose Water
Collect fresh rose blooms and strip the petals. (For a deep red syrup, choose the Syrian Juri rose or similar)
Place the petals in ½ litre of boiling water and wait until the mixture cools
Put the mixture in a blender
Filter the mixture using a muslin or cheese cloth to separate the liquid (rose water)
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