From the Middle East we inherit culinary delights and cosmetic secrets such as rose water and orange blossom water. In fact, the word orange blossom comes from the Arabic az-zahr which means “flowers”, and that is what it is made of: orange blossom is the name given to the white flowers of the lemon and bitter orange trees. Orange blossom water is obtained through the same process that is carried out to extract orange blossom oil, that is, through steam distillation of the flowers.
Properties of orange blossom water
When you uncover a bottle of orange blossom water, the first thing that strikes you is its citrus aroma. You may recognize it because the oil from these flowers is commonly used in the perfume and cleaning product industry. This citrus aroma gives it culinary properties , since it is very common to use it in the preparation of sweet recipes such as roscón dereyes, biscuits, cupcakes and other sweets.
Although there are not enough scientific studies to prove the effectiveness of orange blossom water, it is believed that other properties of the orange blossom include:
- It is emollient and moisturizing : it is believed that orange blossom water can moisturize and soften the skin, as well as regenerate and care for it.
- Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action : orange blossom water is also used to treat skin conditions such as eczema or acne, as well as to care for hair, nails and prevent stomach upset.
- It is relaxing : due to its delicious aromas, orange blossom water can relax our senses and be the perfect complement for an aromatherapy or relaxing massage session.
Today, women in Morocco, Turkey and Cyprus still make their own orange blossom water, despite the fact that there are several commercial brands that distribute it. This product has been used for centuries for skin care by many people in the Middle East and around the world.
What is orange blossom water for?
If you want to replace commercial beauty and daily care products with more natural and less processed ones, orange blossom water can be a great ally. In addition, the uses of orange blossom water extend beyond its cosmetic properties, so we are going to see in detail what orange blossom oil is used for and how to take advantage of it.
Orange blossom water for skin
Orange blossom water has the ability to soften the skin thanks to its emollient properties. To take advantage of its benefits, add 65 ml or ¼ cup of orange blossom water to your bath tub. To complement the treatment, add 4 tablespoons of honey and 3 cups of milk. If you don't have a tub, mix in a container:
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of orange blossom water
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 4 teaspoons of milk.
Gently rub it with a soft sponge. Rinse well. This process is excellent for moisturizing and caring for very dry skin.
Cypriots and other Middle Eastern women claim that orange blossom water has great skin-toning effects. For this reason, it is part of your beauty routine, since it leaves the skin soft and luminous, in addition to balancing the fats of the dermis. Of course, make sure it is a product made with high quality standards or made by yourself at home.
Learn more about the properties of orange blossom water for the skin by clicking on the link.
Orange blossom water for sunburn
As we discussed earlier, orange blossom water is believed to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, it is used to soothe skin irritations and sunburns , as this product provides moisture and nutrition to dry skin. To use, just dilute 1 tablespoon of orange blossom water in a spray bottle and apply directly to affected skin.
Orange blossom water for hair
Lifeless and dull hair? Try orange blossom water and you will see how you make it look strong and bright, without dandruff or dryness. In addition, orange blossom water also improves the conditions of irritated skin, thereby relieving itchy scalp.
Apply diluted with a spray bottle or add a few drops to your conditioner and gently massage into hair.
Massages with orange blossom water
According to Middle Eastern oral tradition, orange blossom water has antispasmodic properties, helping to relieve muscle tension and tension pain. To take advantage of its effects, add half a cup to the bath tub and massage the affected points. In addition, it works as aromatherapy and you can apply it directly to the skin as an ingredient for relaxing massages.
Orange blossom water for the stomach
Orange blossom water can relieve gas and stomach ailments caused by poor digestion. To use it, you just have to dissolve 2 drops of the water in half a cup of water and take it after a meal.
The dose of orange blossom water should not exceed 3 drops per day. You can also combine it with fruit juices or infusions.
Orange blossom water for better sleep
Because orange blossom water has calming and relaxing properties, you can use it to sleep better in case of insomnia. To use it, you have two options: add about 2 drops to a lemon infusion at night or impregnate a clean cloth with a little of this distillate and leave it near your bed. Do not do it directly on the sheets because it can stain some fabrics.
Orange blossom water in baking and cooking
As explained above, orange blossom water has multiple uses in Middle Eastern cuisine and in confectionery in general. Dare to try it in your meals and desserts! Of course, remember that its intense flavor can cover the other flavors, so you must dose it well and add only a few drops.
For example, if you made fruit smoothies, add a drop to complement the flavor. It also serves as a salad dressing, to add to hot chocolate and to vary the flavor of a marinade for meats.
In confectionery, there are many preparations that accept orange blossom water well. Some of them are: biscuits, custard, rice pudding, mousses, ice cream, roscón de reyes, cakes and breads.
How to make homemade orange blossom water
There are several reasons to make orange blossom water at home . If you prepare homemade orange blossom water, you will have a totally natural product and you will save the price of orange blossom water while taking advantage of all the benefits of this distillate.
There are several procedures to process the flowers of Seville orange groves or bitter orange groves. Typically, home stills are used. But if you don't have one, there are other methods and here we explain the simplest of all. You will only need:
- Distilled water.
- A stone or ceramic mortar, or a blender.
- One or several glass jars that are very clean, dry and free of grease.
- A device to heat water.
- Orange blossoms.
Now pay attention to the process. Remember to treat the flowers gently .
- Pick the flowers very early in the morning before the sun is hot. Between 6 and 9 in the morning is a good time, especially since at that time the flowers are most fragrant.
- Wash them with cold water to remove impurities and insects. Carefully separate the flower petals and press them down with the mortar. Some people run them through a blender to cut them smaller. Try both options to find out which one you like best.
- Bring the distilled water to the fire. It should not boil, although it should be close to it.
- Place the flowers in the jars, about two fingers of petals in each, and add the hot water. You should not fill them completely. Half the jar is enough, as you can always add more if needed.
- Let the orange blossom water rest in the sun for about 2 weeks and it will be ready to use. If at the end of the two weeks you feel that the smell is weak, you can always leave it for another week.
At the end of the two weeks, make sure to store them in a cool, dark place. If you want to preserve its properties, add one or two drops of glycerin.