DIY Rose Oil
Roses are one of my favourite flowers and I love seeing them in the E+A garden every summer. With their beautiful soft petals and intoxicating scent, they are the perfect mood lifter, so now in the midst of summer and a glorious heatwave upon us, it's the perfect time to take advantage of the sun's energy and our drooping roses by preparing a solar infused rose oil.
Solar infusion uses the warmth of the sun to extract beneficial parts of the plant. You can use this method to make other flower or herbal infusions but I like roses because of their fantastic beauty benefits. I already use rosewater daily to clean my face and sometimes add a dab of rose essential oil onto blemishes to clear them up. Rose infused oil can leave your skin feeling healthy and nourished and it's lovely to add to a bath or use after a shower.
What you will need:
• A generous cup of rose petals (2 to 3 large roses)
• Vegetable carrier oil (organic if possible) - perhaps one you already use in the kitchen (sunflower or olive oil) or if you'd like something extra special jojoba oil is a lovely option.
• A clean, sterilised glass jar or bottle that can be sealed with a tight fitting lid.
• Sunshine + Time (2 to 4 weeks in this weather but anything up to 6 weeks).
Choose fragrant roses. I have this beautiful pink variety, which smells divine with hints of lemon. I mixed it with a deep pink rose to make up the numbers. You will need around 1 generous cup of rose petals (2 to 3 large roses) to make approximately 250-300ml of infused oil.
Tip: Pick the roses first thing in the morning after the dew* has evaporated. The most fragrant petals will be from roses that have just opened or are partially opened. Give them a gentle shake to remove any insects.
* According to ancient philosophers, morning dew was an alchemical elixir of life that appeared out of the vastness of the calm, clear, night sky offering nourishment and regenerative power. Alchemists considered dew to be produced by a kind of cosmic distillation cycle ie. moisture from the earth is drawn upward by the action of the sun and moon, which then condenses in the cool night air and settles again on the earth.
Gently pull the petals from the flower and lay them over a clean tea towel or baking paper and leave to wilt/dry out to ensure that there is no moisture left.
I like to leave them overnight so they are ready the following morning.
Fill a clean glass jar or bottle with the wilted petals, then use the handle of a wooden spoon to gently bruise the petals to release the scent.
Cover the petals fully with a vegetable carrier oil of your choice (olive, sunflower, jojoba) and gently stir the mixture making sure that all of the petals are well covered before sealing with a lid.
TIP: If you're feeling exuberant, try adding a few drops of rose essential oil. I'm going to add a few drops of the E+A Roses essential oil blend to mine.
Now let the sun do his thing! Find a sunny, safe position where you can leave your oil undisturbed to infuse for 2-4 weeks (up to 6 weeks depending on how sunny it is).
Label the bottle during the infusion with the date so you know when you prepared it.
Gently shake every few days to release the roses healing properties and scent into the oil and to make sure that the petals are kept well covered during the process.
After 2-4 weeks, use a fine sieve to strain the infusion, making sure to squeeze every last drop of precious oil out of those petals.
Label your container with the date and store your rose infused oil in a cool dark place. Most infused oils generally last for a year but be mindful of the shelf life of the carrier oil you used and if you notice that the oil is going rancid or smells funny, it's best to discard it.
Enjoy as and when needed. You can use it as a luxurious body oil, add to baths or mix a little with vegetable wax or butters to make healing salves.