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Science

Roses for Lunch or for a Makeover?

There are some products which are so versatile in use that you can call them ‘chameleon products’ – changing according to their place and time. Following dietary and beauty prescriptions – and evolution, we can find their right place and time as well!

One such item is rosewater – a product which is useful by itself or in combination with many other substances. Rosewater has a long history with humans. Despite the thorns on their bushes which keep us away, people work hard to cultivate them, leading to their evolving of different aromas and varieties.

‘Rosa damascene’ is the most common species for beauty products and many more uses. I imagine their history started in Persia, where rose oil from steam-distillation was used for perfume and healing. Then the technology passed to Greek and Islamic areas.

In parallel, the Far East was using it for beauty products and cooking. Asian cuisine to this day uses rosewater in dairy, rice, and vegetable dishes.

Rosewater was also used for religious ceremonies in the Christian faith as well as other religions.

Nowadays, rosewater is used in traditional and modern dishes. In general, rosewater can be used in any cream, replacing a part or all of the water of a recipe. Also, you can use it in cookies and cakes. Traditional halvas or modern panacotta use rosewater for a nicer aroma.

Regarding its nutritional benefits, it contains 60 calories per 355 g. Most of them are in the form of sugars, but it also has a pinch of protein and a good portion of potassium (14 mg). It has zero cholesterol and fat. But the most important benefit is the natural aroma and flavor it provides in cooking. Modern pastry-making uses too many artificial colors and aromas – rosewater can replace ‘chemical’ vanilla powder in cakes and biscuits, for example.

Keep in mind that not all roses are edible. Agricultural engineering has created some varieties for beauty and others for cosmetics or taste. Do not eat just any rose you find! Smell them freely, but taste with caution!

 

* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.

 

Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and an MSc in Botany-Biology.

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