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We had a wonderful book discussion and signing on Wednesday July 19 with author Jack Kelly! A special thank you to Paul Grondahl, Executive Director of the New York State Writers Institute (co-sponsors of the event), for introducing Jack Kelly and providing detailed context for the evening's talk about the Erie Canal.

Jack Kelly focused on topics of particular relevance to the Shaker Heritage Society, such as the role of the Erie Canal in the revival of religious and spiritual communities across New York State in the 19th century. Audience members asked many interesting questions, and there was even speculation about whether the nearly 53 foot long Meeting House beams may have been shipped along the canal!
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Enjoy an evening of Contra Dance in the historic 1848 Shaker Meeting House for both beginners and seasoned dancers alike. No experience necessary. $6/$10/$12 (student / member or senior / non-member) ... See MoreSee Less

Contra Dance Sponsored by the Dance Flurry

September 19, 2017, 6:00pm - September 19, 2017, 7:30pm

Enjoy an evening of Contra Dan...

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This post was written by our Spring 2014 Intern, Victoria McClellan. 

If you have ever strolled around the gift shop here at the Shaker Heritage Society you may have come across a bottle of rosewater and wondered what someone would ever use that for. The answer to your question is: cooking and baking. The Shakers used rosewater that same way that we use vanilla extract. Today rosewater is used in numerous ways. It can be added to breads, cookies, and cakes. Rosewater can also be used in sweet potato dishes, salad dressings, and various beverages. I have gathered some of the most interesting recipes that I have found in my rosewater research and will share them with you below to give you some ideas on what rosewater is used for today.

 Vegan No-Bake Pistachio Rosewater Bites

 Rose Petal Iced Tea 

 Rosewater Marshmallows

Shaker Applesauce Cake with Rosewater Frosting

So the next time you stop by the Shaker Heritage Society be sure to grab yourself some pre-made rosewater to store in your pantry. You never know when you may have a craving for one of these delicious recipes. If you’re really feeling ambitious and have a free 45 minutes feel free to make your own rosewater by following the recipe below from Herbs for Natural Beauty by Rosemary Gladstar.

Ingredients & Materials:

2-3 quarts of fresh rose petals

Clean water (distilled if possible)

Large pot with convex lid

Quart-size heat-safe stainless steel or glass bowl

Chimney brick


1. Place the brick in the center of the pot and the bowl on top of the brick.

2. Arrange the rose petals around the brick, adding enough flowers to reach the top of it. Pour in just enough water to cover the roses. Place the lid upside down on the pot.

3. Bring the water to a rolling boil; then lower the heat to a slow, steady simmer.

4. As soon as the water begins to boil, empty two or three trays of ice cubes into the inverted lid. Ta-da—your home still! If it all goes right, condensed rose water will flow to the center of the lid and drip into the bowl.


*It is important not to simmer the pot too long or your rose water will become diluted. When you’ve collected about a pint, it’s time to stop—and taste the rose water.

*The best rose water comes from the freshest, most fragrant petals. Petals from commercially grown roses will result in less flavorful water; grow your own or try to locate a garden source with pesticide-free old garden roses. Damasks, centifolias, and gallicas are the varieties most commonly used in the industry to brew the sweetest rose water draught.

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