by Jennifer LittleBear, Jacobs Heritage Farm
It’s the end of the farm season in Ohio and I’m standing in the kitchen of our old farmhouse surveying all of the beautiful and fragrant herbs and plants that I dried throughout the summertime after harvesting them from my gardens or foraging for them in the woods and fields surrounding our land. Now the days are getting colder and shorter and I can turn my attention indoors after a busy season of farming and raising livestock. All summer I’ve been thinking about all of the things that I can make from what we’ve raised and at the top of that list is Queen of Hungary’s Water (sometimes just called “Hungary Water”), an ancient elixir with Hungarian origins that has been used for centuries to produce radiant skin.
The exact origins of Queen of Hungary’s Water have been muddled by the passing centuries but the earliest records of its use date to the 1300s. It is said that this concoction originated when the aging Queen Elizabeth of Hungary commanded her court alchemist to produce a recipe that would restore her youthfulness… and legend says that it worked! Others claim that the Hungary Water was created and marketed by gypsies who promoted it as a cure-all. Hungary Water has been used as a perfume, as a drinkable tonic, and most famously as a facial toner. One thing is for sure, there is a long list of plant and herbal ingredients in Queen of Hungary’s Water and all of these plants have well documented medicinal and skin care uses. Roses reduce swelling and even out skin tone. Lemon balm tightens the skin and restores circulation. Rosemary is an antiseptic that can repair damaged cells. There are a dozen herbs that go into this recipe and every one of them has a similar healing property. It’s no wonder that Hungary Water has been praised for centuries.
I was happy when I realized that I already had almost all of the ingredients needed to make this and I ordered the couple that I was lacking (comfrey and helichrysum). My kitchen smells like a Hungarian apothecary as I measure out the leaves and flower petals that I had so carefully gathered throughout the year and I break them into smaller pieces by hand with a mortar and pestle. The herbal mix gets placed into mason jars where the plant mixture will soak in apple cider vinegar and honey for six weeks to draw out the medicinal qualities. I will be shaking the jars every day to mix the ingredients and help infuse the vinegar.
There is something so powerful and intriguing about creating something with your own hands, with ingredients from your own land, especially when it carries so much healing and so much history. As a descendant of Hungarian immigrants, I do what I can to stay connected to my ancestors and the Hungarian way of life. Queen of Hungary’s Water may or may not have been actually created for a queen, but this tonic does have a royal, noble mix of powerful ingredients that create amazing results.
Jacobs Heritage Farm is a fourth generation farm in Copley, Ohio. Jacobs Heritage Farm was built in 1859 and has been in the Jacobs (Jakab) family for nearly 100 years. We refer to our farm as a heritage farm because of the history of the farm and because we prefer to raise heritage livestock, such as old world honeybees and Hungarian mangalitsa pigs. Learn more about us at Jacobs Heritage Farm and contact us if you’d like to be added to the waiting list for our handmade Queen of Hungary’s Water which will be available once it’s bottled.
Magyar Marketing is a second-generation family business that began in 1988. Our mission is to provide you with resources and encouragement to discover, celebrate, and share your Hungarian heritage with friends and family! To receive our free product catalog or learn about our tours to Hungary and Transylvania, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-786-7851.