So apparently my kitchen is turning into a bit of a chemistry lab. What are all of those beakers and hoses you ask? Why, it's a steam distiller, of course!
A few weeks back when I started foraging for herbs, I started reading up on the qualities of these plants and their valuable uses as medicinal tinctures, healthful teas, antibacterial cleaners, and delicious scents. The plant's essential oil is at the heart of these uses, but it's very difficult to extract. Plus the machinery is very expensive.
I found a few DIY methods and was considering trying them, but then a friend of mine told me that he had a distiller that had been sitting in a box in his house for a year! We made a deal that if I set up the machine, I could use it too. Yay for friends with similar crazy interests!
After filling the "bio-flask" with about one liter of rosemary leaves, I came up with this scant 1/4 inch of oil:
Definitely makes you realize how valuable essential oil is. Of course, a by-product of the steam distillation process is "hydro-sol" which is the scented water that gets separated from the oil. From the liter of rosemary, I got about 12 ounces of hydrosol. I'm thinking about making it into a rosemary syrup for drinks. Or I could make a nice refreshing spray for my bed linens, or use it for the water in the laundry soap recipe.
Any other creative ideas?