Distilling lavender oil is a passion of my Dad and Stepmom Nance’s. For about one week a year, their little ranch turns into a lavender oil factory. All year long Nance tends to her lavender and then when it’s ready she trims it all back and they begin the process of making lavender oil in their still. This is the first time I’ve been able to join them for a couple of batches and it was a really fascinating process.
The lavender...or what’s left of it after harvesting it for oil. They left some for their honeybees to snack on. She grew Provence and Super lavender this year and they make sure to keep the oils separate because they have different smells.
The lavender all loaded up. It takes about 16lbs. of lavender to make just a few ounces of oil.
Dad weighing the lavender and getting the still prepped and ready.
Once the process gets going the oil and hydrosol (really lavender-y smelling water that you can spray around the house, on your sheets, etc.) run down this glass tube and into the smaller receptacle and separate. The hydrosol runs off into the gallon jugs while the oil collects. The oil is the “bubbles” rising up from the tube. It smells so strongly of lavender and gets pretty warm in the little space where the still is that it is hard to stay awake!
Pretty soon there’s enough oil to drain off.
Then Nance separates the oil into containers and gets it ready to sell!
This is the oil from this batch.
It was so cool to see this process in action since we definitely enjoy the end product.