Rosewater, which has been used as far back as ancient times to flavour foods, is made from rose petals and distilled water. It is commonly found in French, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. Rosewater lends a delicate yet exotic flavour to foods like sorbets, salad dressings, cookies, fruit compotes, pastries and meats. Common flavourings that people keep in their kitchens can be used as substitutes if you don't have any rosewater on hand.
Rose essence is a very concentrated form of the flower's flavour. One part of rose essence matches the flavour of four to eight parts of rosewater, so you should only use 1 tsp of rose essence as a substitute for 2 tbsp of rosewater.
You may equally substitute any type of flower water for rosewater. Since there are many edible flowers to choose from, this gives you a wide range of options. You can use 2 tbsp of such flower waters as hibiscus, violet, carnation, chamomile and jasmine.
Vanilla extract is another acceptable rosewater substitute. Like rose essence, vanilla has a very concentrated flavour. Use 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla for every 2 tbsp of rosewater in a recipe.
Almond extract is sometimes used instead of rosewater in marzipan recipes or when making almond paste since their flavours are similar. Use 1 1/2 tbsp of almond extract for every 2 tbsp of rosewater since the extract has a more concentrated flavour than the water.
Although lemon juice has a tart flavour, you must double the amount a recipe calls for when added in place of rosewater. Four tbsp of the juice is required for every 2 tbsp of the water.
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