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  1. #1

    Default Anybody else trying this home distilling?

    My brother got me a glass lab kit for steam distillation for Christmas. The flasks are 2000ml, which means that I can only do stuff that has high yield and is worth the time. I live in a rare climate in the foothills of northern California, I made some pretty lovely juniper oil. The problem is, the yield is so small I have to add frac-coco oil to create a oil film large enough to painstakingly suck up with a pipette. Does anyone know of high yielding crops or a way to chemically separate oil from hydrosol. I know that there are some legit funnels with valves on them, but I'm probably not going to invest in one if I cant get better yields than 1 or 2 ml. Thoughts? Experiences?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Anybody else trying this home distilling?

    I don't know how much you know about the distillation of Essential Oils but there are a few things to do that will increase your yield. Picking the starting material at the right time, when the plant's production of oil is at its highest. Not putting your plant material straight into water but allowing the stem to pass through it, will increase the amount distilled. There is some stuff about this on the Internet; Google "Essential Oil yields" and see what you find.

    One must conclude, however, that the amount of Essential Oil produced by steam distillation from any plant is quite small. For example:-

    100.0 Kg of Lavender produces about 800.0 gm of oil.
    100.0 Kg of Clary Sage produces about 50.0 gm of oil

    Using a proper separating funnel makes life easier too.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Anybody else trying this home distilling?

    It is a steam distillation kit, so that is a check. I have googled quite extensively (i try not to ask what I can find myself) so, check two. Also the bit about harvest times, triple check. Thank you for confirming that I'm not totally defunct! I was hoping I had maybe missed something and that the problem was me and not the low yields.... it just seems to make the whole thing rather impractical, given I can buy the oil for $2-$12, (as opposed to an 8-16 hour distillation). Thanks again for feedback!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Anybody else trying this home distilling?

    I've tried this and yields are indeed low. But you can't buy fresher!

    -

  5. #5

    Default Re: Anybody else trying this home distilling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skelly View Post
    I've tried this and yields are indeed low. But you can't buy fresher!

    -
    Not always a good thing. Freshly distilled oils often smell quite unpleasant, with a "still note". The worst that I can think of is Clove Bud Oil; smells like something died for a couple of weeks. Oils need to be left for a while after distillation before they smell as they should.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Anybody else trying this home distilling?

    Does that happen if you discard the first 5% or so that comes over?

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Anybody else trying this home distilling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skelly View Post
    Does that happen if you discard the first 5% or so that comes over?

    -
    Don't know about that, just know that when I was part of a QC panel, we often smelled Essential Oils that were judged as "too fresh". These were samples of oils bought from Essential Oil suppliers.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Anybody else trying this home distilling?

    Yea David, that seems true, I did a juniper distillation and it didn't loose a distinct "fecal" quality for about a month.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Anybody else trying this home distilling?

    Gee, I've never had good enough production with steam distilling either. I'm having much better success tincturing stuff directly. My juniper berry tincture smells incredible. However, a woman does it locally here. Her and her husband modified her alcohol still to have a much better condenser (a huge spiral in a bucket), and a glass flask with a tap welded to the bottom so she can keep draining the hydrosol out every couple of hours and concentrating the oil on top of it. She then has an overflow pipe that she fills the flask up to and the oil decants off the top. Very clever and works wonders for her lavender. I'm borrowing it if I need it and if I can ever clean the lavender smell from the stainless drum, what a God send!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Anybody else trying this home distilling?

    If you're near the Coast mountains in the north east of Cali, I know that the Western red cedar and Port orford cedar grow there. They would make good material for extractions. There are distribution maps in the links below.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thuja_plicata
    http://nwconifers.com/sw/portorfordcedar.htm

    There's also the California incense cedar. I can imagine that you'd be able to pack a fair amount in if you turned the branches and twigs to sawdust.

    http://timberlines.blogspot.co.uk/20...-resource.html

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