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Micro Micro Distillation of Munstead Lavender

June 16, 2013

Munstead Lavender in bloomLavender 100 gramsMunstead LReady to microwave for essential oilavender is in bloom and ready to harvest in my front yard.  It is the low growing one.  I think the taller one, which will bloom soon, is Provence.

I picked it early in the morning, not the best time for full scent.  In the bowl pictured, I somehow picked 100 grams exactly.  It was only mildly scented.

I microwaved for 6 minutes and ended up with essential oil about the same amount as yesterday’s rosemary.   The essential oil produced was surprisingly strong and without any “still note.”  A still note is an unpleasant smell from sulfur and yeast cells.  Copper stills have copper ions that combine the sulfur compounds and yeast cells keeping them out of the hydrosol and essential oils.  Copper keeps the distillate sweet.

My rosemary essential oil currently has a slight still note. It will disappear with time and a little air.

My rose geraniums are ready to harvest next.  I’m now growing three different types: Old Fashion, Attar of Roses and Bourbon Rose.  Most likely I will distill these with my copper still.  I’m after the hydrosol (flower water) and not the essential oil.  The hydrosol I use as facial toner and for my soap balls.  I want it fresh, sweet and now!

If everything goes well and my health improves, I will do distillation demos once a month at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market on Saturdays.

Back to making soap!

Lori Curry ~ Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenny permalink
    June 17, 2013 1:17 PM

    Thanks for posting about this!

    I was interested to hear of this microwave distiller… so you are getting about 1 mL of EO per 100 g of lavender?


    • June 17, 2013 1:28 PM

      I don’t have a way of measuring it by volume yet. The next distillation, I will weigh it on my smallest scale, which I will have to dig out of storage.
      I have let my rosemary breath and I’m so pleased. My rosemary smells much better then my purchased rosemary from Morocco.


    • June 17, 2013 11:19 PM

      I want to add, that how much you will get depends on the variety, conditions and time of harvest. Hybrid Lavender Grosso would have yielded quite a bit more. Munstead isn’t grown for it’s scent, so I feel lucky to get what I got. I’m looking for spaces to plant true lavenders with a sweeter scent, but at the cost of less essential oil.


  2. Fun Chiat permalink
    June 19, 2013 1:38 AM

    Honestly, what a discovery. I have tried tinctures, alcohol extracts, even ultrasonic but your discovery is inspiration to a home apothecary. My country has lots of dried chinese herbs, mint, basil, ginger. This tool is a fantastic addition for healing arts.


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