Our Christmas present to us. We have been debating getting one of these for years and today it turned up in the post from probably Portugal via New Zealand.
Thanks to http://www.alembics.co.nz/ for the fabulous service and listening to me rant.
We’ve always worked with herbs to some extent and have a complete fascination with medicinal and culinary herb uses but we wanted to take it a step further and distill essential oils. I’m sure that it will take some experimentation but we will slowly teach ourselves to use this and enjoy it. Because we will heat it on the wood stove, it should turn into an energy neutral process to provide natural and fresh oils and hydrosols.
We have initially earmarked a large crop of eau-de-cologne mint, some rosemary and some lemongrass – all of which seem to grow rampantly, at least this season. With the mint, we can make – well – eau-de-cologne I guess as well as mint hydrosol or ‘sweet waters’. Mint oil is also fabulous to make sweeties like bullseyes or to flavour desserts. I wonder if you could use the mint hydrosol to make say, ice cream. I’ll have to try it. Rosemary is mainly for aromatherapy but I fancy the hydrosol for hair rinse/ conditioner and I understand that the oil helps to preserve meat. Good to know if I’m fridge-less. Lemongrass is just lovely and I imagine you could also use it to lemon flavour food if you wanted to.
But that is a long way down the track and will involve lots of experimenting and probably cursing and the watching of educational videos on the subject. And no, we are not distilling rum. Just oils. Can’t wait to try eucalyptus which as well as killing viruses and bacteria, kills insects, rats and mice and is great for washing raw wool. Oh no, I need a sheep!