Whether you have a garden or are growing potted plants, there are many ways to prepare your bountiful Autumn harvest for use throughout the year.
Drying Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) & Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Drying- for culinary use and as herbal teas. After you harvest the plant material you can either place them in a basket with a cloth or paper towel in the bottom to soak up any moisture, hang them up, or place them in a paper bag.
Once well dried, put into a glass jar and label. Best to store in a dark and cool environment to prolong shelf life.
The 3-liter copper distiller pictured is easy to use for smaller batches of aromatic herbs.
It is a perfect distiller for hydrosols.
German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) Distillation
Distillation- steam distillation of all aromatic plants contains both essential oils and hydrosol.
An easy and inexpensive way to distill any aromatic plant.
This process results in a hydrosol with a small amount (.02%) of essential oil.
For complete step-by-step instructions, see our 2-hour seminar,
“Hydrosols: Liquid Aromatherapy”.
Rosehips (Rosa Mosqueta)
Infusion or Maceration- another method of extraction that is used for plants and herbs.
STEP 1- Dry the flower heads, herbs or plant material for a day or two.
Method- Dry plants by putting them in a basket with a cloth or paper towel in the bottom to soak up any moisture, hang them up, or place them in a paper bag.
STEP 2- Once the plant material is dry, then you chop, crush, or grind into small pieces or powder. You can infuse just one plant or a combination of plants like chamomile, rosehip and calendula.
STEP 3- Place the plant material into a glass jar and cover with a base of either olive or jojoba oil. Both olive and jojoba oils have a very long shelf life and will not go rancid. Jojoba is the best choice for delicate flowers.
Remember to use a label with the ingredients and date of infusion.
STEP 4- This mixture is then left in a dark, warm environment for four to eight weeks, shaking the mixture daily 100 times, until the base oil has absorbed the properties and essential oils from the plant material. When you see the plant material start to degrade it is time for the next step.
STEP 5- Drain off and filter the plant matter, using a funnel and strainer. Use an additional paper filter if there are any small particles of plant matter.
STEP 6- Bottle and label. It is always best to store the finished product in a dark amber bottle.
The end result is a wonderful carrier oil to use for your essential oil blends and products.
Alcohol Infusion: used mostly for non-aromatic plants like Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) and Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea).
With this process you can use freshly harvested plant material and do not have to dry it first.
Follow the same instructions that have been given for the oil infusion.
Enjoy your harvest!