Orange Blossom Hydrosol

Most of the Orange blossom water production in Lebanon comes from an area south of the capital called Maghdousheh. This area is famous for its bitter orange groves. To be able to wander in that area in spring when the trees are in bloom is quite a treat. Orange flower water is made by macerating bitter orange blossom in water, then distilling the broth. It's characteristic in the cooking of North Africa and other Mediterranean countries. Orange flower water is used in many Mediterranean dessert dishes.

Orange Blossom Water brings the sweet perfume of the orange grove to a variety of applications. It is a delicious addition to various sweets including custards and puddings, cakes, cookies, candies and other confections. Its fragrant characteristics also complement chocolate, vanilla, almond, lemon and other citrus flavors.

Orange blossom water is a culinary flavoring distilled from the fragrant blossoms of the orange tree. It has distinctive citrus-floral aroma and adds an unmistakable orange flavor to a variety of recipes. Waitrose sell Star Kay White Orange Blossom Water which is made from pure extract of orange blossom. It is very concentrated and should be used sparingly add one drop at a time and taste as you go if you want to add more. 

It’s tempting to think that orange flower water is made from the blossoms of the orange tree. However, orange flower water is a byproduct of steam distillation to obtain the essential oil, which is made from the leaves, pulp, peel, seeds and bark of the tree. Certain fractions of this oil are separated by exploiting their hydrophilic qualities, which means they are soluble in water. The result is orange flower water, although the term used in herbalist and aromatherapy to refer to this substance is flower hydrosol.

Benefit & Uses: Orange blossom water adds a floral hint to both sweet and savory dishes. Add a few drops to fresh fruit salad, dried fruit compotes or sprinkle over fresh summer berries. Stir orange blossom water into cream or yogurt to accompany summer desserts. Add to marinades for fish or white meat for a light floral flavor.

For a refreshing drink serve iced water with chunks of fresh fruit sprinkled with orange blossom water. Or add a few drops to after dinner coffee for an aromatic treat. It is a popular ingredient in African and Middle Eastern cuisines in Morocco, a classic salad of grated carrots, toasted pine nuts and orange segments is moistened with olive oil and lemon juice, then liberally doused with orange blossom water. 

In folk medicine, Orange blossom water was sprayed on the faces of people who felt ill. It is believed to aid digestion and to be soothing before sleep. It was also used as a perfume.

Orange flower water is calming when added to bath water. Because it contains only the bare “essence” of the essential oil, it is safe to use directly on the skin without further dilution. Elizabeth Anne Jones, author of "Awaken to Healing Fragrance: The Power of Essential Oil Therapy”.

In Europe, cooks add flower waters to cakes, puddings and other baked goods and confections. Orange flower water in particular is popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. In the southern United States, orange flower water lends a delicate aroma to scones a type of quick bread typically served with butter and jam or fruit syrup. The use of orange flower water in cooking is especially common in Florida, where the orange blossom is the state flower.


Flower hydrosols, such as orange flower water, can be found in a variety of skin creams and skin toners as they help hydrate dry skin and soothe sunburned or sensitive skin. Because orange flower water contains hydrophilic properties, it acts as a natural surfactant and emulsifier to enhance the application of lotions and other cosmetics. Hair care products such as shampoo and conditioner may contain orange flower water, which helps condition hair and adds shine. The hydrosol is also valued for its light scent, which blends well with other botanical fragrances.


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