I went to a lavender distilling workshop this weekend and it was so fun. I wanted to go to pick lavender and see how they use their still. It was a beautiful day out and we picked lavender first and put it into laundry baskets. I had an alpaca helper who ran through the lavender like a dog.
After we packed the still full of more than 10 pounds of lavender it took about an hour and a half or two hours total to finish. There are two products from this-the hydrosol water and the oil itself. The teacher had a separator that was perfect to separate oil from water. I think we got close to an ounce or more of oil after we were done. The oil and water smelled like honey lavender and we were told that’s from the copper. Copper is better to distill lavender and other herbs with over any other metal. We type of lavender we used was augustofolia. It is the therapeutic variety which grows best at elevations above 700 feet but I am at 500 where we live and have wonderful full plants too. This is the kind you need to use for calming and healing properties as the other varieties can actually have a stimulating effect instead. I learned so much about lavender and distilling and herbs!
My friend has a copper still and wanted to know how to use it and so the following day we were able to use her stove top still for distilling my lavender from my garden. I have two augustofolia plants that are 7 years old now. We sealed the still with a rye flour paste. You are supposed to use rye as it doesn’t crack and expand if it heats up. I thought it was really cool and it peeled off fairly well when we were done.