Homemade rosewater is a natural astringent you can use as a facial toner, and also as a laundry freshener, a fragrant body spray and a subtle flavor in food. It also lasts weeks longer than that wilting rose bouquet on the dining room table.
Pull off all the petals from the roses, and rinse them gently with water to remove any dirt or debris. Place the petals into the bottom of a large pot, around the edges. Place a small bowl in the center of the pot to create a place for the condensed rosewater to collect.
Pour the distilled water over the petals very gently, avoiding the small bowl. Put the lid on the pot upside down with the handle facing down, to create an inverted dome. Bring the water to a gentle simmer.
Invest in pesticide-free roses. Pesticides would end up in your finished product.
Keep an eye on the pot of petals as the water comes to a simmer. Once you see condensation begin to collect on the lid, place about a cup of ice on top of it. The cold temperature encourages condensation, which then drips into the bowl at the center of the pot.
Wipe away any excess ice water from the lid with a dish towel as the concoction simmers. Every 15 minutes or so carefully remove the lid and take the small bowl out of the center of the pot. Pour the collected rosewater into a sealable container.
Replace the bowl, and continue to simmer the mixture, replacing the ice on the lid as needed, until all the liquid has been collected in the small bowl at the center of the pot. This process can take up to an hour.
Strain any leftover rose petal water from the pot through a fine strainer and mix it with the rest of the condensed rosewater. If you want to use the rosewater as a spray, place a funnel over a spray bottle; pour the mixture into the bottle and seal tightly.
For a quick, slightly less intense rosewater mixture, simply simmer the rose petals with distilled water on very low flame, covered, for about an hour until the petals have lost color. Strain the mixture into a sealable container.
Add a couple of drops of witch hazel to the mixture to keep the rosewater fresh longer. You can store and use a batch of rosewater for about a month before you need to make a new one.