Rose water [my warr-dH] has been around for centuries (it is known to have been used by the Romans) and is as it sounds; water with damask rose petals infused in it. It is suggested if you buy rosewater it comes from Iran, rather than Cyprus or Greece. The Iranian version is purely a rose and water mix, whereas the Mediterraian version often contains oil.
Rose Water Sprinklers
Until a few years ago, when a guest entered an Arab house, rose water would be sprinkled into their palms as a greeting. It would again be offered after food, as a way of removing any lingering food smells.
Rose water sprinklers are used to shake water onto the palm. These are about the same size as a large onion and have a small stand at the bottom and a long straight extension from the top. At the top of the extension is a very small onion (shallot size), in which holes are pieced.
To use the rose water sprinkler; hold the stand between your index and middle fingers of your right hand, put your thumb over the bulb for stability. Now turn the rose water sprinker upside down and shake vigorosly. Water will fly out of the holes in all directions, but most of it should land on the recipients hands.
Other Uses of Rose Water
A very Arab dish. Spagetti and rosewater, served with omlettes for Friday breakfasts and on holidays. Balaleet is made using: vermercilli, sugar, butter/oil, crushed cardamon, rosewater, almonds.
A very Persian dish but sold in the Gulf, mainly in Persian restaurants. Rosewater and saffron ice cream. ~to die for~
Rose Water & Meshmoon [mesH-moon]
When a lady wants to entertain her husband in the evenings she covers herself in rose water [my warr-dH] and then spreads petals from the highly fragranced, purple coloured, bushy flowers of the meshmoon plant (from the basil family) all over the bed.
Not strictly Arabic, but too Good to Miss
Gulistan, or 'The Rose Garden', is a collection of poems and stories which were written by the Persian poet, Sa'di in 1259 and has since become a landmark of Persian literature.
It is said the entrance to the United Nation's 'Hall of Nations' has the following inscription from Gulistan ~unfortunately I couldn't find proof of this on the web, but here's the extract anyway~
"Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain."
A very detailed article, with lots of interesting photos on the making of rose oil and rose water can be found at: