Many ounces of herbs, the destruction of one pan and many squares of cheesecloth and coffee filters later, I got the hang of it! Seriously, it is not hard to do and you could have your very own hydrosols in as little as an hour.
The instructions make it seem harder than it really is, so do not be discouraged.
I Googled this topic to find the instructions before I ventured into making them, but after a series of trials and errors, I can give you MY instructions, tell you what to expect and what NOT TO DO. More after the break...
Here we go! I will try to make it as short and to the point as I can. Make sure to read all the way through the directions before you start. I give you two ways to do things. With one set you can start making hydrosols right now and with the other set you prep now, but cannot follow through until the next day.
WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO NEED:
- Dried herbs/dried plant material of your choice. I use 2 ounces.
- A large stainless steel or enamel pot.
- A smaller stainless steel or enamel pot. This has to fit over the opening of the larger pot like a lid. The fit has to be snug so that no steam escapes.
- A small enamel, stainless steel or glass bowel. Make sure it is heat safe.
- A brick or flat rock.
- Distilled water.
- Coffee filter or cheesecloth.
- Couple of clean jars or bottles.
- Inside the large pot place the brick/flat rock.
- Place the dried herbs/dried plant material around the brick/flat rock.
- Pour in enough distilled water to cover the dried herbs/dried plant material.
- On top of the brick/flat rock place the small bowl.
- You can take the stainless steel or enamel bowl/pot (the one to be used as a lid) and fill it with water and put in the freezer overnight. This is what I do.
- You could take the stainless steel or enamel bowl/pot (the one to be used as a lid) and fill with ice. Do not use ice cubes as these melt too fast.
- Put pot on top of the larger pot. There should be a good space between the bottom of the "lid" and the small bowl inside. Make sure that the fit is snug. You do not want any steam to escape.
- Simmer the herbs. This process can take anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on how high you have the temperature. I always use a low to medium heat.
- After the allotted time has passed, turn off the stove eye, but do not remove the "lid" just yet. Condensation will continue to form until the pots have sufficiently cooled down.
- Be careful when removing the "lid" from the pot. There will be steam inside. Use the potholders to remove the bowl from inside.
When the water simmers it creates heat. This heat hits the bottom of the pot filled with ice. Since this pot is cold, it creates condensation and drops back down into the smaller bowl that you have put on the brick/rock.
This liquid inside the smaller bowl is the hydrosol.
When you look at the liquid inside of the bowl, the oil floating on the top is the essential oil from the plant.
ONCE YOU ARE DONE:
- You may want to take the liquid and pass it through the coffee filter or cheesecloth to make sure that all plant matter is removed. If this plant matter is left in the hydrosol it can mold and ruin your hydrosol.
- You can place the hydrosol in a jar and apply to your face with a cotton ball, or you can place it in a bottle with a sprayer. Keep refrigerated.
- Make sure that you use dried herbs/dried plant material.
- Make sure you keep an eye on the pots. Check the level of the ice.
- If you smell something amiss, make sure to check the pot. I once did not put enough water in the cover the herbs and burned the herbs to the pot. I did not realize this until I started smelling something burning. This will affect the smell of the hydrosol, so I had to discard that too.
- Make sure your pan is "thick" enough. If you have a stainless steel pot that is on the thinner side, I would not use it. Ice expands as it freezes, so it could make your pan bow out in places or crack it. I destroyed a good stockpot this way.
- You do not have to use expensive pots. I use a $6.00 enamel pot that I got from a dollar store. It makes a great "lid" and can withstand my freezing water in it.
- Lastly, do not get discouraged!! If your first try fails, try it again. It is quick, easy and best of all CHEAP! I have made many hydrosols this way.