Simple home-made appliance for making hydrolates
My dear readers – no, I have not stopped blogging, I just had a break – I went for longer vacation and subsequently I found myself with a lot, a lot of work…Also, I wanted to answer all the questions you sent me by mail or in comments…
I did many experiments and soaps in meantime, so I will be posting my results step by step.
Today, I will share with you how to make your own hydrolats (flower/herbal waters) at home without a need for a fancy Alambic or distillation column.
I tried this simple distillation appliance (made just from what you find in your kitchen) twice and it works surprisingly well!
You will need:
1. a pot – at least 5 liters
2. a support to be placed in a pot, on which you can place the container to which your hydrolate will drip to.
3. a heat-resistant container for hydrolate – must be smaller than the pot, and it should not be too close to the edges of the pot, so that it does not touch the lid
4. a glass lid (so you can see what’s going on inside), which is not flat – you have to cover with it the pot so that the steam condensates and drips into the container
5. some play dough to seal the lid and a towel to secure the sealing
6. many of ice cubes – preferably in a plastic bag, properly sealed. If you have the freezer gel cold packs, you won!
7. the plant/flowers you want to distill
I explain the principle on the following image – sorry for the low quality, but I was never good at painting…
1. Put the stand into the pot and pour water so that its level is about 1/2 inch (1 cm) below the base of the container for hydrolate
2. Put the hydrolate container on the stand – I used a porcelain bowl (see images below)
3. Put the plant you want to distill in the pot – you can soak it directly in the water or just let it on the stand – this would only be possible if the stand is wide enough to cover all the pot perimeter.
The plant layer should be around 1/2 -1 inch (1-2.5 cm) thick – not more, or less.
4. Flip the lid (face down) and cover the pot
5. Seal the lid – be as thorough as possible. I once used a home made play dough made from from flour, water, salt and cream of tartar – much like THIS ONE. Do not forget to wrap a towel around the lid.
As the water will boil, the steam – actually the hydrolate itself- will try to escape from all the unsealed holes… and that is exactly what we wish to avoid
6. Place the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil – as soon as it starts to boil, turn the heat to minimum and let simmer.
7. Before the water starts to boil, cover the lid with a bag or two of ice cubes
8. When the water boils, it evaporates and the steam passes through the plant, distilling essential oils and other substances. The steam rises up and condenses on the lid which is kept cold by the ice cubes. Hydrolate trickles into the middle of the lid a drips into the container.
9. Finally, when you feel tired of changing the melting ice cube bags and the hydrolate container is at least half full, you can turn the heat off.
10. Voila, your hydrolate is ready! 🙂
Here is how my last distillation of lavender flowers looked like:
Do you use this method? How do you like it? Let me know in comments below!