Rose Water from the Mountains of Oman
As you read this, Roses are being picked from the mountain side terrace gardens of Jabal AlAkhdar, and being distilled into Rose Water.
Abu Jamal “Mohammad Bin Nassir Awlad Thani” who we met by chance as we were exploring the area gracefully walked us through his rose gardens before inviting us to his house for coffee.
Welcoming, hospitable, ever smiling and graceful as guided us through the rose bushes planted on the magnificent terraces followed by a brief tour of the AlSharijah Village before inviting us to his house for traditional Omani coffee.
Following is an interesting article from Arab News Web site about Rose Water production
“People from the nearby Gulf regions make it a point to visit Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar to buy in bulk the rose water, which is of good quality. They also enjoy watching the traditional rose water distillation process.
For several centuries, roses have been cultivated here and processed into rose water. Rose water was distilled by the Arabs as early as the ninth century when Al-Kindi wrote his “Kitab Kimya’ Al-‘Itr wa Al-Tas‘idat” (Book of Perfume Chemistry and Distillation), but the earliest source that claims to document the origin of attar as a derivative of rose water comes from India.
Rose water is used in medicinal, culinary and celebratory purposes. It enjoys wide popularity throughout the Middle East and is a must in every kitchen. It is particularly sought after during Ramadan when it is used in preparing the fast-breaking meal and during the two Eids when it is often employed as a flavoring in drinks, custards, jellies and other desserts. Rose water also offers a way to refine the socially ubiquitous glass of tea and Omani halwa. It even has a place in the preparation of traditional cosmetics. For example, black kohl (powdered antimony sulphide that is used like eyeliner throughout the Arabian Peninsula) is often mixed with rose water to make an applicable paste, which is said to aid impaired vision.”*