Tuesday, February 15, 2022

How to Make Hydrosols at Home

Learn how to make hydrosols at home without special equipment.  This has directions to make a DIY hydrosol distiller to make your own hydrosol to use for cleaning or for DIY bath and body projects.  This is a great way to use fresh or dried herbs from your garden.





How to Make Hydrosol Water


Hydrosols are like cousins to essential oils.  Hydrosols retain many of the plant properties, but they are water based and milder.


You can make hydrosols from fresh or dried herbs at home and save a lot of money.  After I learned how to make hydrosols at home, I started using them for cleaning and for making DIY hair care and skin care.


I grow quite a few herbs at home each year, but I also buy herbs in bulk from the Amish greenhouse.  I can walk in and get almost any herb by the pound.


Hydrosols are expensive, but learning how to make hydrosol at home can save you a substantial amount of money.


For more ways to use herbs, check out these posts:






What Are Hydrosols?


Hydrosols are sometimes called floral waters.  Common ones are lavender hydrosol, chamomile hydrosol, and calendula hydrosol.  


They are about 98 percent water and 2 percent plant matter.  This gives them the benefits from the plant, but they are gentler.


Hydrosols can be used in place of water in cleaning recipes, lotions, shampoos, and conditioners.  Since they are water based, they do need a preservative and can't be used as a substitute for an oil.


What is the Difference Between a Hydrosol and an Essential Oil?


Hydrosols and essential oils are made in much the same way with steam extraction.  However, hydrosols are mainly water and have less plant material.  They are milder and have a subtle scent.  A hydrosol may have trace amounts of essential oils in them.


Essential oils are oil based and highly concentrated.  You have to dilute an essential oil to use it on your skin.  


While you can not substitute hydrosols and essential oils directly, you can use them together or use just the hydrosol for a milder version of the plant.  





How Are Hydrosols Made?


Hydrosols, or floral waters, are made using steam distillation.  The heat from the steam causes the plant material to open up, so the steam is able to "grab" some of the plant material and extracts.


The steam is then cooled quickly and trapped as a liquid, which is what is the hydrosol.


Commercial hydrosols are made in large batches in a distillery.  However, you can make a DIY hydrosol distiller to use at home for smaller batches.


How Can I Make Hydrosol at Home?


You don't need any expensive equipment to learn how to make hydrosols at home.  You can easily make your own DIY hydrosol distiller with common kitchen ingredients.


You will need the following to make your own hydrosol:


  • A large cooking pot with a curved lid.
  • A glass or metal bowl smaller than the pot.
  • A ramekin or canning rings to set the smaller bowl on.
  • Fresh or dried herbs.
  • Ice.


You probably have all you need to make a DIY hydrosol distiller except for the herbs!





How Long Does it Take to Make Hydrosol?


How long it takes to make your own hydrosol really depends on the heat and the plant.  It also depends on how much hydrosol you want to make.


However, plan on spending about 1 to 3 hours learning how to make hydrosol water.


Why is My Hydrosol Cloudy?


Hydrosols are water based, and they can grow bacteria and other microbes after a while.  If you notice that your hydrosol is cloudy, it's probably a bloom. 


A bloom is a cloud of bacteria similar to what you find in your homemade apple cider vinegar with the mother.


If you notice that your hydrosol has a cloudy appearance, it must be tossed.  It is not safe to use.


How Long Does Homemade Hydrosol Last?


When you learn how to make hydrosol at home, it should last about 6 months in the fridge.  Any recipes that you use your hydrosol in should be preserved with a preservative or stored in the fridge.


This is true for store bought hydrosol and when you make your own hydrosol.





Where to Buy Herbs to Learn How to Make Hydrosol


I either grow my herbs or buy them in bulk from an Amish greenhouse.  They don't have a phone let alone Internet, so they don't ship unfortunately.


However, what they don't have in stock, I recommend Mountain Rose Herbs, Starwest Botanicals, or Grass Root Herb Supply on Etsy.


These herbs will work well to make your own hydrosol:


  • Calendula
  • Catnip 
  • Chamomile
  • Eucalyptus 
  • Lavender 
  • Lemon Balm 
  • Peppermint
  • Plantain
  • Rose
  • Rosemary 
  • Spearmint 


You can use either fresh or dried herbs to learn how to make hydrosol water.  If you use dried herbs, you'll use about twice as much plant matter than you would for fresh herbs.


I bought 4 cups of dried calendula for $2.60.  I got 4 cups of hydrosol from the herbs.  You can expect to pay about $35 for just two cups of hydrosol, so learning how to make hydrosols at home was a considerable savings!


You can learn how to do container gardening with herbs to grow your own herb garden.  Then learn how to dry herbs to save them for later.


DIY Hydrosol Distiller Equipment


To learn how to make hydrosols at home, you will need:


  • Large pot with a curved lid.  It's important to have the curved lid to catch the hydrosol so it drips into the center of the pot.
  • A medium sized heat proof bowl.  You can use metal or glass.  Make sure it fits inside the larger pot.
  • A small bowl, ramekin, or canning rings.  You'll use these to elevate the smaller bowl so it doesn't sit on the bottom of the pan.
  • 4 cups of dried herbs or 2 cups of fresh herbs
  • Ice.  I put my ice in a plastic bag so it didn't drip all over.





How Do You Make Stovetop Hydrosol?


You'll be making a form of a still to make your own hydrosol.  You'll simmer water on the bottom of the pan.  The steam will rise and catch some plant material.  


The steam then rises to the lid, which is placed in the pot upside down with the curved side down.  You'll place ice on top of the lid, which cools the steam rapidly so it falls down into the bowl inside.


Step By Step Directions to Make Your Own Hydrosol


Step #1


Find a large pot and a bowl that will fit inside.  You also want to ensure there is room for the herbs around the smaller bowl.


Then place the bowl inside the pot.  Set it on a small heat proof bowl or use canning rings to elevate it so it's not touching the heat source.


Step #2


Place the dried or fresh herbs around the bowl inside the pot.  Add filtered water (I used water from my Zero water filter) to cover the herbs.  I used 2 cups of water and 4 cups of dried herbs.  I added more water later as needed.





Step #3


Place the lid upside down on the top of the pot.  Turn the stove on to high heat until the water starts to boil.  Then turn it down to medium or low to keep it just above a simmer.


Step #4


Fill a gallon zippered plastic bag with ice and set it on the lid.  The ice melts quick, so keep refilling it.  Use tongs or a hot pad to grab the bag to refill it because it will be hot.  Repeat several times when the ice melts.





Step #5


While you don't have to constantly watch the DIY hydrosol distiller, you will need to keep adding ice.  Add more water to the herb mixture as needed.  Be careful to pour the water in the pan and not in the small bowl.  I checked on my ice and water every 15 minutes.


The more water you add, the more diluted your hydrosol will be.  I ended up getting about 4 cups of homemade hydrosol.  


Now you know how to make hydrosols at home!  Have fun creating.


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hydrosol
Yield: 4 cups
Author: Cari @ Homesteading in Ohio
Estimated cost: $5

How to Make Hydrosol at Home

prep time: 15 Mperform time: 3 hourtotal time: 3 H & 15 M
How to make your own hydrosol with fresh or dried herbs.

materials:

  • Large pot with a curved lid
  • A medium sized heat proof bowl.
  • A small bowl, ramekin, or canning rings
  • 4 cups of dried herbs or 2 cups of fresh herbs
  • Ice

tools:

  • Tongs

steps:

  1. Find a large pot and a bowl that will fit inside. You also want to ensure there is room for the herbs around the smaller bowl.
  2. Place the bowl inside the pot. Set it on a small heat proof bowl or use canning rings to elevate it so it's not touching the heat source.
  3. Place the dried or fresh herbs around the bowl inside the pot. Add filtered water  to cover the herbs. I used 2 cups of water and 4 cups of dried herbs. I added more water later as needed.
  4. Place the lid upside down on the top of the pot. Turn the stove on to high heat until the water starts to boil. Then turn it down to medium or low to keep it just above a simmer.
  5. Fill a gallon zippered plastic bag with ice and set it on the lid. The ice melts quick, so keep refilling it. Use tongs or a hot pad to grab the bag to refill it because it will be hot. Repeat several times when the ice melts.
  6. While you don't have to constantly watch the DIY hydrosol distiller, you will need to keep adding ice. Add more water to the herb mixture as needed. Be careful to pour the water in the pan and not in the small bowl. I checked on my ice and water every 15 minutes.
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