Oil Distillation in Your Kitchen
Sunday, June 19th
Saturday, July 2nd
There is nothing so pure and distinctive to a flower or an herb as its scent. Scent is a complex mixture of volatile compounds, chemicals that vaporize into gas when released by the plant. More than a thousand years ago, Persian physician Ibn Sina discovered how to capture the intoxicating scent of roses into a bottle by the method of steam distillation. The product that is collected from steam distillation is what we term “essential oil”, the elusive essence of the plant that contains its scent. An additional product of the steam distillation process is hydrosol. Also known as “flower water”, hydrosols can contain contain some of the valuable elements of essential oils plus other, water soluble beneficial compounds.
We at Mad Lavender Farm are so excited to be able to offer this workshop in distilling essential oil and hydrosol with Dr. Alex, PhD. It is designed to make small quantities of essential oil and hydrosol at home with the simplest utensils. The workshop will be lavender centric but we will investigate other plant material as well, such as peppermint and sage. Lavender is one of the more generous plants regarding its oil yield from distillation – another reason it’s so satisfying to make on a smaller scale at home. We will be looking at the different varieties of lavender and stages of bloom in terms of the quality and quantity of oil that is produced. The workshop will take us into the field to harvest the product and into our lab to experience hands-on how lavender and other herbs are alchemized from volatile scent to bottled oil and hydrosol.
From as far back as they can remember, Alex has always been fascinated by nature. Growing up in a family of scientists, Alex was soon guided into formal education to explain the world around them. After years of schooling and a PhD in biochemistry, they realized two things:
ONE- There is no way to learn everything, but that’s no reason to stop trying. TWO- Science and research are partners to and translators of ancient wisdom. We are not the first here, and we won’t be the last. Alex is happiest learning, teaching, music-ing, or just being in awe of what IS.