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Rosa damascena, also known as the rose of Castile .Its flowers are known for their delicate fragrance and are harvested for rose oil ("rose otto" or "rose absolute", which is used in perfumery, rose water and "rose concret". They can be used to flavour food, for decoration, for herbal tea and for preserving with sugar.
This oil-bearing rose has deciduous shrubs and grows up to 2.2 m tall, with stems densely packed with strong, curved spikes and tough moss. The leaves are pinnately branched, with five (rarely seven) petals. The flowers range from light through moderate pink to light red. The relatively small flowers grow in clusters. The shrub is indeterminate in shape.
The Damascena rose is best grown in rows (like a hedge) to better protect the flowers from the wind and make picking easier. Harvesting the flowers is quite labour intensive as it has to be done by hand. Depending on the type of 'Damascena' grown in the region, there are between twenty and forty days a year when the crop is ready for picking. The roses are harvested by hand and transported to the site for steam distillation.
Bulgaria and Turkey are the largest producers of rose oil from the various denominations of all the roses that fall under the name Damascena rose. Morocco, Tunisia and some other Middle Eastern countries have produced rose oil in the past, but their contribution is minimal.
The town of Kazanlak in Bulgaria was founded in 1420 and rose cultivation began at that time. The Damascena rose is known in this region as the Kazanlak rose and according to legend was brought to the area by a Turkish judge who brought it from Tunisia and planted them in his garden. It is now grown commercially in the area around Kazanlak called the Valley of Roses. The distillate from these roses is sold on the market as 'Bulgarian rose oil' and 'Bulgarian rose oil'. In Bulgaria, an annual Rose Festival is held in honour of the rose.
Turkish rose oil is marketed as 'rose oil', 'Turkish rose oil' and 'Rosa Damascena Attar' or 'Ittar'. Although there are still families who have their own small distilleries and produce so-called 'country oil', the marketing of rose oil as a high-quality product is regulated by the State, with a State-owned cooperative in the Isparta region of Turkey. Roses are still grown on small family farms, but the flowers are transferred to one of the many distillation halls where quality-controlled distillation takes place.
Culinary: The Damascena rose is used in cooking to add flavour and as a spice. It is one of the ingredients of the Moroccan spice blend Ras el Hanout. Rose water and rose powder are used in Persian, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Rose water is often sprinkled on meat dishes and rose powder is added to sauces. Whole flowers or individual petals are also used in the herbal tea 'zukhurat'. However, the most popular use is to flavour desserts such as ice cream, jam, marshmallows, milk with rice, yoghurt.
However, it has been a popular ingredient since ancient times and continued to be popular during the Renaissance era. It is most commonly used in desserts and can still be found as a flavouring in traditional
desserts such as marzipan or turon.
The flowering of the oil rose begins in mid-May and lasts until mid-June.The Damascena rose is a symbol of beauty, youth and health. Today it is the basis of the most elite products of the world's pharmaceutical companies in the field of cosmetics and perfumery. Today it is the basis of the most elite products of the world's pharmaceutical companies .