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Monday, November 1, 2010


Photo By: Anshuca
agua rosada, rosewater. Roses spread from Asia Minor to Europe. In the 1st A.D, Alexandrian chemists discovered how to distill rose petals in water. Arabs advanced the technology by using glass and glazed containers, which increased production and enabled exportation. Rosewater came to Spain from Persia. Avicenna (980-1037) prepared it. Covarrubias called it "angel water" and defined it as many different types of flowers and aromatic drugs distilled and noted for its strong odor. Rosewater and others such as jasmine and lemon were sold in apothecary shops. By the 13th C. it was exported from Shiraz and Damascus to major centers in the Maghreb, Spain and the Far East. It played a major roll in Hispanic-Moorish recipes and all over Europe by the 14th and 15th C. including England where it was called for in the Two Fifteenth-Century Cook Books. In medieval Spain, it was an ingredient added to innumerous dishes including pink honey, pink marzipan, pink candied fruit, rose syrup, rose pastry and rose or violet honey cake. Wild roses were preferred over cultivated ones as the smell is stronger. Further, it was put out at night to create calmness and receive mysterious infusions from the moon, stars and mist. It was used as an antidepressant. It has been found to reduce cholesterol. Nola recommended rosewater as a ‘heart tonic.’ Today, rosewater is used in perfumes. See agua de azahar. For detailed instructions for making rosewater see: Florilegium ROSE WATER MSG on line. [Covarrubias. 1998:52:a:13-20. ES: Calle. “Poetas.” Sep 21, 01; ES: “Medicinal.” Sep 30, 02.; Gitlitz. 1999:xiv; Lladonosa. Cocina. 1984:155; Nola. 1989:xiiii-2:xv-3:xvi-1 etc; Nola/Iranzo. 1982:167; and Nola/Pérez. 1992:186]



1 fresh root ginger
6 tbsp rosewater
1 cinnamon stick, 3” long
½ tsp whole cloves
2 c chicken broth
 6 medium apples
1 lemon, juice from or 3-4 tbsp
1/3 c almonds
1 c water
½ c brown sugar


Peel skin off ginger and make small pieces the size of a half of a finger. Soak them in rosewater overnight.

Put that and whole cinnamon in a spice bag with cloves. Scald that in hot broth and remove it.
Peel, quarter and remove core of apples. Stew them in 1 c of the broth, the spice bag and the lemon juice. Blanch almonds in 1 c. of boiling water for three minutes and remove the almonds from the pot. Remove the skins of the almonds and grind them in a blender. When well ground add stewed apples and grind all. Blend in the remaining broth. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer into a pot. (For a chunkier mixture do not strain.) Add sugar and simmer, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Add spice bag and taste. Add ground ginger if needed. When cooked add rosewater. Pour into serving bowls and sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top.


  1. Muy interesante,soy a gran aficionada a las hierbas que le dan sabores muy especial a las comidas.
    No me puede faltar en las diferencias comidas las hierbas que las realzan y que cultivo en mi balcon como romero,estragon,cibulette, menta etc
    Tambien el agua de rosas tiene muchos usos en pasteleria

  2. Muchas gracias Donka. ¡Si como ves en Nola agua de rosas no pudo faltar en la cocina medieval!