What Foods And Drinks Are Made From Roses?


Rose water or rose syrup is the by-product and hydrosol portion of rose oil, extracted from rose petals in the process of distillation. As a by-product in the production of rose oil for use in perfume, a component in some cosmetic and medical preparations, and used for religious purposes throughout Europe and Asia, rose water is also used to flavour foods and drinks.

There is a very distinctive flavour to rose water, and although to some it is definitely an acquired taste, it is used all around the world, especially in sweets. It has a subtle flavour, and a few drops may be all that is needed to impart the rose waters delicate aroma into culinary magic.

In India rose water is used in the popular pudding dessert “gulab jamuns”, with the Cypriot version being “mahalebi”. It is also used in Arab countries in dairy based dishes such as rice pudding. In the United States it was used to make Waverly Jumbles, a type of cookie much favoured by the American President, James Monroe. American and European bakers enjoyed the floral flavouring of rose water in their baking until the 19th century when vanilla flavouring became popular.

Turkish or Cyprus Delight, and some types of “loukoum”, will contain rose water, and in Western Europe it is sometimes used to flavour Marzipan and Madeleine, a petite scallop-shaped French sponge cake. In Iran, rose water is also added to tea, ice cream, cookies, and other sweets in small quantities. The French are well known for their rose syrup, and in the United States, this French syrup is used to make rose scones and marshmallows.

In Malaysia and Singapore, rose water is mixed with milk, sugar and pink food colouring to make a sweet drink called “bandung”. It is also frequently used in place of red wine and other alcohols in cooking by Muslim chefs. In Lebanon and Palestine, it is commonly added to lemonade. In India and the Arab world it is used to flavour milk and dairy products, and the syrup called “jallab” is also a key ingredient in sweet “lassi”, an Arab drink made from yoghurt, sugar and various fruit juices.

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