I’m lucky enough to have a friend that grows herbs and flowers organically, and we work in trade. I recently went over to harvest 2 lbs each, of rosemary and Lavender. Today I’ve been making Lavender Essential Oil and Lavender Hydrosol, they form together and I use both for different things. Hydrosols are also known as floral waters, hydroflorates, flower waters or distillates are products from steam distilling plant materials.
I’m still a small operation so I can not afford a proper still yet, but I make do with one made from kitchen equipment, it works well even if it’s a bit more time consuming. I use a double boiler, with lid inverted to act as condenser and a ceramic baking ramkin to catch the oils and hydrosol. You can see my setup in the photos below. I lose a little bit of steam with this method because it is not sealed, but it works well for now.
Steam passes through the plant material and collects a small amount of oil, it all falls into my center ramekin, later I pour all my essential oil and Hydrosol in a tall thin glass to stand and separate, most oils float and I can pipe them off the top of the water. 1/2 lb worth of Lavender yields about 2 ml worth of essential oil for me.