As I was cleaning in the yard over the weekend, I noticed an absolutely intoxicating smell permeating the air. The wind was carrying the smell from the orange blossoms that were falling off the trees into soft white piles on the floor. I instantly picked some up off the ground to put in a bowl to scent my room. Then I remembered the rose water I attempted to make last year and I though Ah-Hah I can make a orange blossom hydrosol! I ended up boiling the roses last time because I didn't set the stove temperature low enough. This time I made absolutely sure I put it on the lowest setting, this is important! The how to follows...
Supplies you will need:
-lid that fits over pot
-small bowl that fits on top of brick with lid still closing over top
-apx 4 c. fresh orange blossoms
-glass bottle for storing
pick your orange blossoms or alternatively you can catch the blossoms as they fall by placing a sheet between two chairs to form a net. (this way you can put it out overnight)
after you pick all your blossoms sift through them and make sure they are free of debris and bugs.
place a clean brick (or other heat proof/oven safe slab) in the bottom of your pot. I tried to use a heavy bowl the first time I made hydrosols but as the water heated up the movement of the water pushed up on the bowl and knocked everything over. It must be a solid brick, or other object.
fill your pot with the orange blossoms about up to the top of the brick. Then fill the pot with water up to the same line. It shouldn't go over the brick or higher than the top of the blossoms. Just enough to cover.
place the lid upside down on the pot. As the water heats up and steam builds it will hit the lid and drip down into the bowl. Set your stove to med-high until it starts to steam, then lower to the lowest possible setting. I made the mistake of letting my roses sit on med heat and they browned and I had basically boiled them and the water turned a moldy scent. So be careful and check your water to make sure it NEVER boils.
Place ice on the inverted lid. This will help the steam condense and have all that delicious smelling orange blossom water drip into the bowl. The entire process should take around 30-45 minutes. Check the bowl occasionally in case you need to empty it as it fills. After awhile the scent won't be very strong so the first 30 minutes should provide you with the nicest smelling hydrosol. After the flower water cools you can transfer it into a glass container of your choice preferably with a spritzer. It keeps longer in the fridge but if you keep it in a dark cool place it can keep for around 6 months.
Use this hydrosol as a spritzer on hot days, to scent your bedding, as a light refreshing perfume, or to set your makeup. This is really good to use on oily skin as a toner as well. Neroli essential oil is one of the most expensive out there so this is a good alternative if you like the smell of orange blossoms!
I made a limited quantity of these Neroli hydrosols which will be for sale as soon as I open EARTH // OILS on etsy in the next couple of weeks. If you are interested in seeing more hydrosols for sale I might make lavender in the near future!