Hydrosols or "Essential Waters" are more commonly known as floral waters or herbal waters. You may already know the most well known one, rose water. Hydrosols are the byproduct of essential oils. As the steam distills the plant material, it rises and moves through a condenser where the essential oil in the steam collects into a separate vessel. The remaining water is the hydrosol. This hydrosol is perfect for skin care, using in cooking, as a fragrance, room and linen spray, and even in some of your favorite drinks. Essential waters have all the goodness of an essential oil, only in a much milder form and they are so easy to make at home with things already in your kitchen!
When I first started exploring the world of essential oils I wanted to learn how to make them at home. The idea of getting a small copper still or glassware needed to do this was both outside my budget and not something I was ready to tackle. But the prepper in me wanted to be independent of a supplier. So I started looking at stepping stones to a distillery and what I found was the magical world of hydrosols and how everything I needed to make them was already in my kitchen and my garden.
Chris from Joybilee Farm has a great post that goes more in-depth on this topic as well. You can read it here. Also I highly recommend the book Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy. It's a MUST have item for your eReader or in print.
BTW, that was an affiliate link in case you aren't familiar with them yet. If you make a purchase I make a small commission. You never pay anything extra though. Your cost stays the same. This small commission helps to keep my blog up, and hopefully one day cover the associated expenses and keep annoying scrolling and blinking ads off my blog. :) Okay. Okay. Back to the hydrosols.
So let's get started making some hydrosols.
Collect your fresh pretty and good smelling plant material.
I chose lemon balm today. Smells good right?
Things that make awesome hydrosols are:
rose petals, chamomile, calendula, lemon balm, peppermint, lavender, lilac, catnip, are just a few...
Place a ramekin or small dish inside of a stockpot.
Put a glass bowl or cup, canning jar, etc. on top of the dish.
Pretty fancy equipment. I zoomed in close so you wouldn't see the mess on my stove from salve making... *Nothing to see here. Move along*
Put your fresh plant material around the dish and glass cup (I used a glass Pyrex measuring cup). No fancy way to measure the amount of material. Because you keep the water level below the glass cup, you won't need much material.
Add your water. As stated above, you need just enough water to pretty much submerge the plant material, but not go past the top of the ramekin or dish you have your glass cup on.
Place an inverted lid on the top of your stockpot. I used a glass one because I like to watch the action.
Put some ice cubes on the top of the lid to help the steam collect and drip towards the center.
Turn the heat to medium and let the water do the work.
Now sit back and watch the essential water collect as it runs down the lid towards the handle, dripping and collecting into your class cup. I forgot to set the timer, but I let this batch go for an hour or so I believe. I got busy wit the Littles. :) Anyway it did get a little "grassy" smell at the end but resulted in 15 ounces of essential water. Typically I only let it go for about 30 minutes at a time but the Littles didn't care apparently.
Once you're satisfied with the amount of essential water collected, let it cool and then bottle it. Store them in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Yes, it's that EASY!
What do you think, are you going to give it a try?