Many people think of orange trees only for the citrus fruit they produce. In fact, the orange tree is also beloved for the delicate white blooms it produces. These blossoms are the state flower of Florida and have long been used as a bridal flower because they represent purity.
A steam distillation process is used to extract essential oils, often called neroli, from orange blooms. The by-product of this process is orange flower water. Also known as orange blossom water, this liquid has diverse uses in cosmetic, culinary and aromatherapy applications. Orange flower water has been popular in Middle Eastern culture for centuries and has been highly valued by the French since the time of Marie Antoinette.
Orange flower water is slightly acidic, making it well suited for use as a skin toner. It is said to brighten the skin, thanks to its vitamin C content. The liquid also has some anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. A spritz of orange flower water will be both hydrating and refreshing to the skin.
Orange flower water is soothing when used in aromatherapy for both the body and the home. Mix orange blossom water with distilled water and simmer on the stove to release the gentle fragrance. The scent is calming yet fresh, and may re-energize you when you are weary.
In addition to enlivening the home, orange flower water is used in many cultures to cleanse the hands before and during a meal. It also makes a lovely addition to bath water as it soothes both the skin and the spirit.
Orange flower water has a wide range of culinary uses. These include flavoring coffee and water in North African countries and enhancing sweets and pastries all over the world. The liquid is frequently added to a simple syrup for cooking and baking purposes. This is a dissolved mixture of equal parts of water and sugar, with the orange essence incorporated into it.
When cooking with orange flower water, be sure to check the ingredients for purity. Avoid added alcohols and chemicals, as these are unnecessary and can adversely affect the flavor.
If you wish to give a gift to someone who is feeling under the weather, make them a treat with orange flower water. Baked goods such as baklava or madeleines are often infused with orange flower water, which has the added benefit of a boost of vitamin C.
Another thoughtful present is a facial spritzer with a blend of orange blossom water, rose water, and a splash of witch hazel. Put this blend into a pretty vintage bottle and you have a considerate gift that is both calming and good for the skin.
These are just a few of the many ways to incorporate orange flower water into homemade items. When you give orange flower water as a gift, you are sending a message of good health and happy sentiments.