I want to talk about lavender hydrosol. I know, I know. I’ve been away for awhile. Now I just pop back up like I haven’t been gone and want to talk about hydrosol. What can I say? It’s been a busy summer. We’re now up to something over three thousand lavender plants, which is a bit over three acres. It’s turned out to be considerably more weeding than I had banked on, so we ended up hiring some help to stay on top of it. The plants we put in last year came along wonderfully and so we had our first harvest this spring, much earlier than we planned.
Fixer and I harvested and bundled and discovered that I’ve made some great selections for color. Another thing that we discovered is that some varieties, while having tremendous color, have strange stems that twist when they dry and leave really funny looking bundles. So we bundled, tied and dried and then ran out of space to hang and dry the bundles. So it was time to distill. Because we’ve grown so many angustifolia varieties, the fragrance is very light and fresh, but the oil yields are low. The fantastic discovery is the hydrosol.
Hydrosol is the water fraction of the distillation process. Once the oil is separated off after distillation, the fragrant remaining water fraction is the hydrosol. The fragrance comes from small micro droplets of essential oil suspended in water. And. It. Is. Fantastic. One of the really great things about distilling your own is that even though you may only get a milliliter or two of oil in a small still, you can still get a couple of gallons of hydrosol to use for other things: linen spray, room freshener, facial toner. Some people even claim it’s useful on minor burns. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it sure feels nice to have a little spray on the back of your neck on a hot day.
It’s October now, and we’ll be doing our last distillation this weekend from our second cut and hopefully we’ll be able to produce enough to get me through all of the lotion making I’ve got planned for this winter.
Sometime last winter, I started to expand Bucklepenny’s product offerings to include lotions and body butters. A significant portion of those kinds of products is water. Lotion at it’s most basic is a water, an oil and some kind of emulsifier. You can use distilled water for the water fraction or you can get a little more creative and use hydrosols or other skin loving goodies. Another fantastic thing about it is that it imparts a sweet, subtle lavender scent to lotions before even adding any kind of fragrance.
If you want to try out making your own lotions, check out this website for all kinds of great information. We’re working on revamping our website so you can contact Bucklepenny directly if making your own is more commitment than you’re willing to make. Bucklepenny is expanding into private label production in recent months. If that’s a service you need, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. What kind of products would you like to see in our Etsy shop?