Why do I insist on continually going grocery shopping when I’m hungry?

But the thing I’m most excited and perplexed about is the pretty glass vial of rose water I picked up. You’d think I’d know better by now. Sigh.

Even when you’re restricted to only the gluten-free items in the grocery store, there are still plenty of ways to get in trouble. Today’s visit to a local Greek-ish store yielded a few unneccesary purchases: chocolate-covered figs (already gone, forcibly shared with the rest of the office), tahini (but I’ll use it for salad dressing and falafel, so it’s OK), sun-dried red peppers, etc etc.

I had no idea what I’m going to do with it, of course, but that didn’t stop me.

Now, the brand I bought (pictured, Al Wadi Al Akhdar) doesn’t explicitly say gluten-free, however I was willing to take the chance given the ingredients list: water, concentrated rose water, natural rose flavors. Maybe I’ll run it through a GlutenTox test just to be sure.

Anyway. The point is, I got home, smelled it, got to researching, and then got totally excited to add rose water into my list of secret weapons that make gluten-free food taste and smell awesome.

The internet tells me that rosewater has an affinity for sweet things and dairy. Accordingly, many of the recipes involve a rosewater-influenced ice cream. If you have an ice cream maker, you can play with recipes like:

However, if you don’t have access to an ice cream maker, you can incorporate rosewater into your favorite gluten-free vanilla ice cream from the grocery store. A helpful Chowhound hint:

[a restaurant in our area] takes a high quality vanilla ice cream, softens it and then folds in a bit (very little bit) of rosewater and pistachios, and a bit of saffron. Then refreezes.

This reminds me a bit of a lovely ice cream I had once in Amman, which had been molded into a cylinder about 4 inches across and then rolled in chopped nuts…OK I lied. I was only in Amman for 24 hours but I found time to get that ice cream twice. Yum.

If you don’t like dairy or dairy doesn’t like you, there are plenty of other ways to use rosewater to liven up your dishes. Be wary, as it’s a strong ingredient and a little goes a long way! Some ideas (found in multiple places online unless otherwise cited):

  • Add to black or herbal tea
  • Use sparingly on fresh fruit
  • Make your hot cocoa grown-up
  • Added to the water rice is cooked in, for seafood dishes, rice puddings, etc.
  • Add to your favorite meringue recipe along with a bit of pink food coloring or berry extract and pipe in the shape of roses (here are images and a recipe by Created by Diane)
  • Sprinkle on your morning yogurt (I’ll be doing this along with my walnut oil tomorrow…YUM)
  • If you’re thirsty, rosewater also plays nice with some spirits. Check out Bar None‘s list for ideas with tequila, gin, vodka, whiskey, Champagne and more
Lastly, if you would prefer to make your own rosewater, here’s a step-by-ste from Organic Authority. Just make sure you have food-quality roses and a few hours to spend by your stove.
Have you used rosewater in foods or cocktails? What’s your favorite gluten-free flowery treat?