Khadeja’s Rose Water

Khadeja Tahr Omer with her daughter holding a tray of glasses filled with rose water

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 truly delicious.

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

Tray of glasses filled with Khadeja'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)

Add 250 g of sugar

Add the juice of 3 lemons

Enjoy!

More delicious recipes

 

We have awarded prizes to 72 winning gardens in our 2021 Lemon Tree Trust (LTT) annual garden competitions. LTT competitions took place in a record nine camps in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), despite ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. Winners have received cash prizes and gifts of seeds and plants, and all participants have received certificates.  … Continued

Land restoration in refugee camps and wider communities has enormous potential to enhance the living conditions of forcibly displaced people and the ecosystems of war-torn regions. To coincide with the official launch of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration and World Environment Day on 5 June 2021, we were delighted to take part in a ‘Refugees and Restoration’ roundtable … Continued

Ahmed Ibrahim Ismail lives in the Azar neighbourhood of Domiz 2 camp. “I have a humble garden in my house, and I started working on it with my children two years ago. We have spent many good times in it, especially during the curfew for the coronavirus.⁣  ⁣“My garden contains 20 different types of roses and … Continued