- The lavender is placed in a pot of water, but somehow elevated above the water. In our case, we inverted a pasta strainer in the pot and placed the lavender on top.
- The pot is placed on a heat source. In our case, we used the awesome outdoor flame source that Mark had used for his beer-making adventures.
- The pot is then covered and sealed. In our case we used a pressure cooker used for canning to which we clamped a smallish hose through which the steam would escape
- Once the water starts boiling and the steam starts making its way through the hose, it needs to be cooled so that it will condense and separate the water from the oil. In our case, we tried 2 things. First, we tried attaching the hose to a copper coil that Mark had used in his beer-making, and placed it sideways in a tub of cool water. Attached at the other end of the copper coil was another hose.
- This last hose snaked out of the tub of cool water and into a glass separatory funnel. The idea is that the condensed water/oil will separate at this point into hydrosol and oil.
- We decided about half-way through that this wasn’t working because the coil was positioned incorrectly and/or was too big so we bypassed the coil and went straight into the separatory funnel. This ended up not working either, so we are making some adjustments to the coil so that we can stand it up and let gravity help the condensed steam make its way through the coil and into the funnel
- We ended up with some great-smelling hydrosol but no oil. We think one of the problems was the cooling -- or lack of.
- We also realized that we had put too much water into the pot -- the lavender shouldn’t be in the water at all and ours was.
Attempt #2 will take place tomorrow, so we'll see if our adjustments yield different results. If anything, it was a lot of fun planning and working together on this. I’m excited to see what happens tomorrow!