Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What are Floral Waters?

What are floral waters and what are they used for?  Well, they can be used for? To get to the bottom of this question, people at wisegeek.com have an anwer to that burning question.  According to Wisegeek.com:

"Floral waters are waters which have been infused with the essences of various flowers. Some common floral waters are made with flowers like lavender, rose, orange blossom, chamomile, and rosemary. There are a variety of uses for floral waters, ranging from body care to cooking, and there are a number of styles of floral waters to choose from. These products are often available at large markets and health food stores, and they can also be ordered directly from the companies which produce them.

Many companies distinguish between a hydrosol, which is a floral water made with the water used during steam distillation of essential oils, and a floral water, made with essential oil which is added to water. Some people believe that hydrosols are superior, because they often integrate a wider range of scents, and they can be quite strong. Floral waters made with essential oil are also of varying quality, because the strength depends on how much essential oil is used, what kind of water it is suspended in, and how well distilled the essential oil was to begin with.

In cooking, floral waters have famously been used in the Middle East for centuries. Many Middle Eastern pastries and desserts include floral waters like orange blossom water and rose water, and floral waters can also be added to savory dishes, as well. Typically they are used in moderate amounts, so that the strong scent and flavor do not become overwhelming. Floral waters can also become cloying if they are applied to food in excess.

In beauty care, there are all sorts of ways to use floral waters. Some people apply them directly to their skin after bathing, using them as a mild natural perfume and taking advantage of the substances in the floral waters which can be beneficial to the skin. Others apply floral waters to change their mood, using things like lavender to calm down during a stressful day. Floral waters can also be added to bodycare products like moisturizers and scrubs.

If you want to use floral waters in cooking, it is important to use food-grade floral waters. While many cosmetic floral waters are perfectly safe to consume, this is not always the case, and it is better to be safe than sorry. Some cosmetic hydrosols and floral waters are treated with additives to prolong their shelf life or enhance their scent, and these additives are not safe for consumption. Look for floral waters which are clearly marked for cooking when you want to use floral waters in recipes; food grade floral waters can also be used cosmetically."

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