Susan Fennelly gave a fantastic presentation on rosewater to the August meeting of the club. She spoke from experience as she and her husband own a 30 acre farm in Colo with a field of Damask roses planted specifically for the purpose of producing rosewater. They’ve built a cottage industry around this and their oranges called Hawkesbury Estate (www.hawkesburyestate.com.au). The history of rosewater goes back 5000 years where it was first used in the Middle East. It’s still commonly used to add a unique flavour in many dishes in that region. Currently Bulgaria is the big rose grower and rosewater producer. They supply rosewater to the entire world. The Australian’s haven’t discovered this industry yet and Susan and her husband are finding themselves as unintentional trailblazers. This is a bit of a mystery because, at least in the Hawkesbury, growing conditions are perfect for roses. At Hawkesbury Estate they pick the rose petals fresh every morning during the long blooming season and use their still to produce the hydrosol that is later bottled as pure, distilled rosewater where the essential oils remain suspended in the water. Susan shared some highlights of the benefits of rosewater, not just the yummy taste it adds to classic desserts like baklava, but also the health benefits and how beneficial it can be to hair and skin. We all came away from Susan’s talk better informed, slightly intrigued and quite a few of us also came away with a bottle of her rosewater spray. Those of us that did will be trying it on our face, hair and we’ll be pouring through cookbooks and the internet for recipe ideas.
Our next meeting is Thursday, 3 September 2015 when Leif Rosengaard will talk to the club about Bonsai. Don’t forget to check out the gardening article in the Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine. It features information about the goings on in this club.