Sunday, June 29, 2008

Finally! ~ Distilled Some Lavender

It has been a goal ever since the row of Grosso lavender went in, that some of it would be distilled. Now we are nearing a critical stage where all of the lavender is trying hard to bloom, so today was the day.

It was an interesting distillation. Normally, we fill the little white bucket with ice, and just about the time the ice is all melted, we have 16 oz. or so of distillate. Of course, we normally have only a few drops of essential oil - sometimes none, depending on the plant used. So, I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out where the water went. Maybe the lavender in the biomass flask soaked it up? Anyhow, it took us quite a bit longer than usual to get a decent amount of distillate, and we had to refill the bucket with ice. We got more essential oil than even mints or lemon verbena.

I took pictures as we went along, just because it was so darned cool!

First, the lavender still on the plants. There are still several plants waving around out there, but 3 of them got good haircuts.

This is one of "the girls" after the haircut.

Next, you can see the amount of lavender that was cut compared to the biomass flask - which holds about a gallon, give or take. We only used the tops of the spikes, or the flowers.

This is how it looks all ready to be fired up.

The cloudy band in the collector is the essential oil. Gradually the cloudiness went away (air bubbles, I think) and the band got wider, to about 3/4 of an inch.

Here you can see how dark the water got in the boiling flask, how pale the lavender got, and how much essential oil we obtained. The two blue bottles are hydrosol.

So that's it. The still is all cleaned and ready to go for another adventure.


Big Sister said...

Extremely cool to see! I've always daydreamed about distilling different plants, but I know it such a consuming task, and I can't garden for my life! But this just makes me look at my lavender, and then leads me to imagine the field of flowers that must have gone into it...

Laura said...

WOW! I have to echo what Daniela said: "Extremely cool to see!"

Unknown said...

Cool! One of these days I have to get a still...and find a lavender that will grow well enough in the heat and humidity to produce plenty of blooms to distill...
How do you clean all the nooks and crannies of the apparatus?

Tina Sams said...

It comes apart into about 7 pieces. Not too bad to clean; the only problem I really had was balsam fir. That stuck to the biomass flask. Soaking with alcohol did the trick.

Anonymous said...

wow - great work here. Thanks for all of your insight and info. :)