Bitter What? Benefits of Bitters

Bitters…have you ever tried them? Do you know what the benefits of bitters are? I am here to tell ya!

Bitter is a flavor that many Americans think is wrong. You hear all the time, “yuck too bitter!”, “needs more sugar” ad stuff like that. We NEED that flavor in our diet. America loves their sweets more than any other country in the world.

If you frequently feel lethargic after meals, bloated, constipated or just crummy in the tummy, you may benefit from taking a tincture of bitters before or after each meal. I find it works great before meals. As soon as you put the tincture on your tongue, it stimulates the salivary glands producing your first digestive juices which is telling your stomach to get ready, here comes the food, start the digestive process!

Not only that, it may help –

  • sugar cravings,
  • regulate blood sugar
  • balance appetite
  • increase absorption of vitamins
  • help the liver

BUT who is it not for???? Someone with IBS with diarrhea – we don’t want to encourage that for goodness sakes.

There are many commercial bitters on the market today with an array of flavor profiles but it is super easy to make. Of course if you don’t want to make it yourself, I can make it for YOU!

There are so many herbs and fruits to choose from when creating your bitters as well as choices of alcohol. I personally prefer to use brandy, it is mild and helps the medicine go down, so to speak.

First choose your bittering agents, one or a combination: Use between 10-50% of total ingredients.

  • Gentian Root – the bitterest of all bitter herbs on the planet. Very strong!!! Don’t go overboard.
  • Dandelion Root and Leaf – a common bitter that is eaten but does well in a tincture
  • sarsaparilla, wormwood, artichoke leaf – I have not tried yet
  • Orange, lemon or grapefruit peels

Flavorings or aromatics to help the flavor profile:

Spices, herbs, fruits:

Cardamom, Cinnamon, Coriander, Coffee, Ginger, Fennel seeds,  Black pepper, Vanilla beans, Cacao nibs(because chocolate goes with everything!)

Chamomile, Hops, Hibiscus, Hawthorn berries, Mints

Citrus fruits and peels, fresh or dried.

The sky is the limit really!

This is my recipe adapted from a recipe from Learning Herbs and from The Kitchn.

bitter1
all the ingredients

Grapefruit Bitters

  • 1/2 fresh grapefruit, washed well, cut up into chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon dried dandelion root
  • 1 Tablespoon dried dandelion leaf
  • 1/4 cup dried hawthorn berries
  • 1/4 cup dried hibiscus roselle (sabdariffa)
  • 2 Tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons raw cacao nibs
  • 1 Tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • approximately 24 ounce brandy or other liquor

You can find most the the herbs at Bulk Herb Store I like that they are close by in Tennessee and I really love their story, check it out!

Add fruit, herbs, spices to a quart glass canning jar.

bitter2

Then pour your brandy to cover completely!

bitter3

bitter4

Mix well and put a lid on it. Keep it on a shelf out of the direct sunlight, where you see it daily to give it a shake.

bitter5
Grapefruit bitters and valerian tincture macerating

This is it after 24 hours – beautiful!! BUT you must wait a few weeks until it is ready. Taste it after two weeks but 3 might be better.

bitter6

Once it is done, strain it into another jar. You can add a bit of warmed honey to it but not too much, maybe 1/4 cup. You don’t want it too sweet or it won’t do its job. 😉

I will post the finished product when it is ready.

Share with me your recipes or your experience with bitter.

Enjoy your day – get out into nature and take a walk – 

Anne-Marie

 

 

 

Medicinal & Edible Benefits of Hibiscus

The colors of Fall are beautiful with the trees changing into an array of yellow, red, gold, orange and brown. You don’t expect to see many plants producing as you do in the Summer.

hibiscus-close-up

There are some exceptions of course. The beautiful Hibiscus Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa), with its ruby red calyces and deep burgandy stems. After flowering, the calyx swell with a seed pod at which time we harvest the calyces and peel the red outer covering off to use for teas and jellies and more!

hibiscus-parts

The leaves, flowers and calyces are all edible. The calyces are well known around the world for their gorgeous red color for your teas. In Jamaica they call their drink,  Jamaican Sorrel which is made from the hibiscus calyx along with fresh ginger and sugar. It is delish!!!

I do have one hibiscus plant but it bloomed late so I only have a few calyces to pick BUT I am lucky enough to have some good friends that invited me to the farm they work at to pick all I wanted!

hibiscus-roselle
My Hibiscus plant

hibiscus-harvest

My friend Denise helped me process this giant load of hibiscus. I could not have done it without her. 🙂

hibiscus-closeup

hibiscus-fresh
fresh hibiscus peeled from seed pods. Pic Credit*Denise Hardin
hibiscus-seed-pods-denise
the leftover pods pic credit* Denise Hardin
hibiscus-tray
All my trays of drying hibiscus!
hibiscus-by-denise-hardin
My favorite photographer Denise Hardin

Here is an Herb Profile for you about Hibiscus:

Herbal Lesson on Hibiscus

Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as Roselle or Jamaican Sorrel, is a beautiful tropical plant with reddish green leaves, red stems, red calyces and pale yellow flowers with a red center. It can be grown here in Georgia if started early enough because it flowers in late summer.

Edible uses: The leaves, flowers, calyx are all edible. The red calyx swells up after flowering and then peeled to dry for teas.

To make tea: Use 1 T fresh calyces or 1-2 teaspoons dried per cup of water. Steep 10 minutes. Sweeten.

SYRUP/CORDIAL
This syrup will keep for at least a year. Once opened, it will keep for months if refrigerated. The syrup is delicious over crepes, fresh fruit, custard, ice cream. To make cordial, a very small quantity of syrup can be added to a glass and filled with water. The syrup can also be added to milk to make a delicious drink.
5 cups sugar
4 cups water
4 cups calyces, chopped
Heat the sugar and water in a large saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the calyces and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently until the volume of liquid is reduced by a third. Remove from the heat and strain. Bottle the syrup while still hot into clean bottles and seal. The strained calyces can be eaten as a dessert with ice cream or custard.

Medicinal Uses:  Good for the cardiovascular system – can help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Full of antioxidants, high in vitamin C

Cooling to the body and astringent due to the tartness so helpful for fevers, excess fluid, hot flashes, sore throats.

Hibiscus and Ginger Tea : 4 T fresh hibiscus and a few slices fresh ginger to a quart jar, add boiling water, let steep 10-15 minutes. Sweeten with sugar, honey – I used coconut sugar.

www.bellavistanaturals.com – Anne-Marie Bilella  – Bella Vista Farm

Have a beautiful day friends!

Easy Peasy Lip Scrub Recipe

Have you ever used a lip scrub? Maybe one of those super expensive, high end ones at the department stores?

I found this easy, peasy lip scrub recipe that I wanted to share with ya’ll! No Tricks, just Treats today – Happy Halloween 🎃

lip4

Of course if you don’t want to make it yourself, I will happily make it for you.

Luscious Lip Scrub Recipe

  • 1 Tablespoon Extra virgin organic coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Raw honey
  • 2 Tablespoons pure cane sugar

lip1

lip2

Mix it all in a bowl and transfer into small jars.

lip3

You can put it all in one jar if you want to use it as a facial and hand scrub in addition to the lip scrub. To use: place a small amount on lips, rub gently in circular motions, lick up the extra :D. Let sit a minute or two and wipe off with a wet facecloth.

Now kiss someone so they can feel your soft, luscious lips!

Enjoy –

Anne-Marie

Benefits of Shiso (Perilla frutescens)

Have you ever eaten Shiso, aka Perilla or Beefsteak Plant? If you have eaten in a Japanese restaurant, you may have had this yummy treat without knowing it. The name shiso comes from the Chinese word, zisu which means “purple”. Perilla, as I call it, can be green or purple depending on the variety and where it is grown.

Perilla is in the mint family and extremely easy to grow although many of you have this growing in the wild on the edge of the woods. Go check and see after reading this post and let me know!

perilla

Description and Biology

  • Plant: small, freely-branching annual herb that grows to 18-30 in. high; stems four-sided and covered with short hairs.
  • Leaves: opposite, ovate, green to purple with toothed margins; distinctive musky mint-like odor.
  • Flowers, fruits and seeds: flowers are small, bell-shaped, white and purple with a distinctive ring of fine hairs along the bottom in terminal spikes or emerging from leaf axils; July and October.
  • Spreads: by seed that either drops close to parent plant or may be transported by wind or water.
  • Look-alikes: beefsteak plant superficially resembles basil and coleus and can be confused with other members of the mint family.***From nps.gov

Medicinal Benefits of Perilla:

  • Leaves edible, contain calcium, iron and vitamin C
  • Good source of antioxidants
  • Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for asthma, colds, and flu
  • Seeds high in omega 3’s and support a healthy immune system.

I personally like to combine perilla leaves with kudzu leaves and lemon balm for colds or just a pleasant tasting tea.

MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE WAY TO USE IT?

Pickled Perilla

20160925_165458_resized

 

The following recipe was given to me by my friend Brooke. I tasted one of these pickled leaves and was hooked for life!!! The original recipe, or what was posted was on www.mykoreankitchen.com

20160925_164614_resized

20160925_165254_resized
Layer the leaves
20160925_165102_resized
add sauce and repeat layering

 

Pickled Perilla with Brown Rice Recipe

  • 20-30 Fresh Perilla Leaves
  • Seasoning Sauce: Mix the following in a medium sized bowl
  • 10 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon korean chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
  • optional – 2 tablespoons chopped green and red chilis
  1. Rinse perilla leaves in cold running water and drain them in a colander while getting the sauce ready.
  2. Prepare the sauce by mixing the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Layer perilla leaves in a glass container with a lid, about 3-5 at a time either stacked(I could be that anal!) or in a layer. Spread about a tablespoon of the sauce over the leaves. Repeat the process until all leaves are layered with sauce. Any left over sauce can be poured over the top.
  4. Cover and refrigerate. This can be eaten after a few days. It tastes even better after a week! Will keep in fridge for months!!
  5. To eat, cook up some brown rice and fill each leaf with the rice, roll up or squish it together and eat. 😀 Totally yum!!!

Enjoy!

Anne-Marie

 

 

 

 

DIY Honey Face Wash

Have you ever washed your face with honey? Or do you think I made that up? Honey is good for us both inside and out. I will share some of its benefits below with the recipe.

My son has battled acne for most of his teen years. We have tried store bought soap, handmade soap from a friend, oatmeal soap and some acne liquid soaps from the store that worked a little bit then had some bad side effects on the skin. The next step was going to be purchasing one of those so called “this will cure your acne treatments” as seen on tv but I was worried about all the chemicals in those cleansers and what they would do in addition to clearing the skin.

I finally found a homemade cleanser recipe that actually started to work on him with a clearer face within a week. Now while you CAN use honey alone to help clear the pimples, this combination of ingredients seems to have a synergistic effect on the skin overall. Here is the recipe and some information about each ingredient as to how it works.

You can make this yourself or if you don’t feel like making it, I can make it for you! 🙂

diy

The Ingredients:

Raw Honey –  

  • Naturally antibacterial to help heal the acne and clear the skin.
  • It is a natural humectant, drawing moisture into the skin so great for aging skin(me).
  • It can unclog pores.

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar –

  • Contains alpha hydroxy acids that remove dead skin revealing healthier skin.
  • It nourishes the skin.
  • A natural antibacterial and antifungal to help fight pimples.

Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil – 

  • Anti-inflammatory – reduces the inflammation already present from the acne.
  • Antimicrobial – helping to replace the protective layer of acid on the face to keep acne away.
  • Contains Vitamin E – very helpful in healing and clearing the pores, ensures proper function of the sebum glands. * My Gram had my cousin break open the vitamin E capsules and put them oil all over her pimples each day for a week – it was a dramatic improvement by the end of the week.*

Probiotic Capsules –

Probiotics are GOOD bacteria that we need for healthy gut flora, if our gut flora is out of whack usually our skin will show it! Did you know healthy skin contains good bacteria that promotes healthy skin function whereas acne-prone skin does not?

Tea Tree Essential Oil – 

Antibacterial, Antifungal – a potent healer. Don’t overdo this oil though because it could dry out the skin too much.

20160718_071555_resized

DIY Honey Face Wash Recipe

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons Raw honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Raw apple cider vinegar
  • 20 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 2 probiotic capsules, opened

20160718_071925_resized

Mix all of the above very well with a whisk and put into a bottle. It will make a little over 2 ounces. Use it up within a month. You could put a mild preservative in it to keep longer but it is very easy to mix up a small batch like this each month.

20160718_072631-2_resized

To use: Shake well each time before using as the coconut oil may harden in cooler weather or in the a/c. Pour a small amount into your CLEAN hands and rub gently allover your face. Ideally, keep it on your face for five minutes…just go brush your teeth or waste time, read an email or two. 5 minutes goes fast. Now take a warm wet face cloth and wipe your face clean. Rinse with warm water. Repeat this morning and evening. You will notice a difference immediately in the texture of your skin. Keep using and you will be on your way to less pimples!!

Enjoy,

Anne-Marie

 

 

 

Try Something New…

Try something new…Monday can be a great day to try something new that you haven’t done before.

Ok do you ever just go purchase something on a whim or do you sit and plan out every detail before making a purchase? MOST of the time I have to think about for days or weeks because me like everyone one of you, has to watch their pennies, spending only what we need and then maybe every so often we can get something really cool! A fancy night on the town? …no. A luxurious spa day?…heck no! A new book? Yeah we are on the right track! A bunch of new books at a steal – oh my gosh, I am running out the door!!!

I drug my feet, didn’t read all my emails from Ryan at the Ultimate Bundles, until today – TODAY – the LAST day of their new Ultimate Herbs & Essential Oils Bundle Sale – Ahhhhhh…. but I was not too late. I watched the cool video and saw all the amazing books and stuff in the bundle so I bought it. It was only $29 for it – I had that amount in my PayPal account – YAY!!! So r-e-a-l-l-y it is NOT a splurge but a necessity, am I right? 🙂


The one book that got me, ok there were like 5 but the ones  I really want to see is Homegrown Healing, from seed to apothecary by Chris Dalziel AND Safe EO Labels – Set A by Lea Harris

Just thought I would share so if you are so inclined, please use my link below – I would appreciate it and share my link with your friends. IF you get the bundle, send me your name and email to mybellavistafarm@gmail.com and you will be entered into a drawing for a free $30 class or $30 in products from me.

 

Go Check out The BUNDLE!

Have a beautiful day and remember the sale is OVER in 8 hours!!!

Anne-Marie

Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups

Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups…doesn’t that sound delicious? Last night I read a blog post from GatherVictoria.com and she had this recipe I JUST had to try!!! And you know …if you don’t do it right away, you forget all about it and it gets lost somewhere in cyberland.

I did not have every ingredient that she used so I improvised with what was growing right now!

calendula bvf

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is growing like crazy,  I had plenty to pick from. The recipe only calls for 3 Tablespoons of petals so you can have enough from 5-6 blossoms. Even though calendula is used mainly for medicinal purposes as a vulnerary herb to heal cuts, scrapes, burns and internal wounds, it is also edible and looks beautiful in a salad or in these cute egg cups. Calendula contains antioxidants in the form of flavanoids and carotenoids(beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A).

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – the leaves of dandelion are diuretic without removing precious potassium and they are very helpful for the liver removing toxins from the body. The green leaves are bitter, bitter is good, but don’t stress, they won’t be too bitter in this recipe!

Basil – Genovese (Ocimum basilicum) – add a lovely aromatic, sweet yet spicy flavor.

Tarragon (Artemesia dracunculus) – tasty herb that is used in fish dishes, bernaise sauce and it has a anise-like flavoring to it. I LOVE this herb!

Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) – relative of the beloved quinoa. Otherwise known as Wild Spinach. An excellent substitution for any green that packs a punch of nutrition: Vitamin A, B1,2,3,5,6,  C, protein, iron, manganese, magnesium and more! It does contain oxalic acid so you don’t want to eat a ton of this everyday. Oxalic acid can cause kidney stones if you are prone to these.

muffin1

Gold ole garlic and onions!

This is soooo easy and add anything else you like, be creative, invent a new egg cup!

Recipe for Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups

  • 6 eggs, beaten

  • splash of half and half

  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh dandelion leaves, chopped

  • 1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped

  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lambsquarters, chopped

  • 3 Tablespoons fresh calendula petals

  • 1 garlic clove, chopped

  • 1/4 large onion, chopped

  • pinch himalayan sea salt

  • black pepper to taste

  • 1/3 cup fresh mozzarella crumbled or feta

Wash you fresh eggs and beat them in a bowl with the cream.

muffin2

Saute onion on med low for a few minutes til soft, add the garlic and the greens. Cook just 1-2 minutes.

muffin4

Add fresh calendula petals and cheese to eggs. Add the greens mixture, salt and pepper. Mix up.

muffin7

Grease a muffin tin – grease it a lot, mine stuck!!!

Pour your mixture into the tin, mine filled 11 cups. Bake in a preheated oven at 350o for 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes or so and eat them up!

muffin5

You can freeze the leftovers for a fast breakfast, just defrost in the fridge and reheat in the oven(wrap in foil or a covered dish).

They taste wonderful!!!

Enjoy,

muffin6

 

 

 

The Benefits of Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) otherwise known as Wild Carrot is part of the Apiaceae family of plants or commonly called the Parsley Family. Until recently, I never touched Queen Anne’s Lace for fear that it may be a poisonous relative – hemlock to be exact! One is edible while the other, well you know the story of the Greek philosopher, Socrates? Sentenced to death by drinking the poison hemlock, yikes!

This year I finally, FINALLY decided to really look into that pretty wild carrot flower and see how hard really it was to identify it. Pretty, darn easy….seriously….if you pay attention to the color and texture of the stem, the leaf type and the flower. See Queen Anne’s Lace has something special in the very center of the flower, not ALL the flowers but if you find that special mark then you definitely got the correct plant. So what is that special mark?

Look closely at this picture, not my pic but it is from the Edible Wild Foods website –

queen-annes-lace-image

What do you see?

No, it is not dirt or a bug it is a dark colored flower in the center! Well in this case there looks to be two or three. Another cool thing about the flowers – when one starts to get old, instead of turning brown, it starts to close up like a this -like a birds nest!

QueenAnnesLace111111985554 Whereas Poison Hemlock turns all brown

The stems – this picture is credited to Darryl Patton, The Southern Herbalist

darryl patton queen anne

It looks pretty obvious, doesn’t it? BUT still make sure you have help the first few times to be sure!!!

So what are the benefits? For one thing EAT IT!!! It has a white carrot root but you should dig it up early spring otherwise now, here in the South as it is in flower, it would be tooooo woody. The flowers can be battered and friend, mmmmm or make a jelly from the flowers like I did.

QAC flowers

I cleaned all the blossoms of critters – 😀 then measured out 4 cups of blossoms. I added 7 cups of boiling water, slightly cooled for 5 minutes. Cover and steep for 30 minutes and strain.

I measured about 6.5 cups of the infusion into a clean pot. Add 1/2 cup lemon juice, stir and add the pectin(approxiamtely 6 Tablespoons or two boxes). I used low sugar pectin but you can use regular as in the original recipe from Edible Wild Foods. Stir really, really well with a whisk!

Bring to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Then add your sugar, in my case of low sugar, I added 2 – 2.5 cups. Bring up to a boil again and cook for 1 minute. Test the consistency. My set up quite fast!! Have jars ready, fill, wipe clean, add lids and process in water bath canner for 5 minutes for 8 ounce jars.

Medicinal Benefits GALORE!!! Here is a list of what I found, although not tested by me yet.

You know the saying, ” An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? A wild carrot a day, might keep death away!” Hmmm…that’s what I read.

Queen Anne’s Lace is known to be analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, hangover preventative, migraine remedy, expectorant, antihistamine, helpful for the kidneys and liver, cancer preventative and much, much more. Read here for more info! As soon as I have some experience with this plant medicinally, I will let ya’ll know!

jelly

 

Jelly Recipe

  • 4 cups fresh QAL Blossoms
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 boxes or 6 Tablespoons pectin

This made 6 half pints plus a 4 ounce jar.

Go find a knowledgeable friend and pick some Queen Anne’s Lace! Have a great day –

Anne-Marie

Distilling Hydrosols & Essential Oils

On Saturday I was fortunate enough to attend a class on Distilling Hydrosols & Essential Oils in Atlanta at Kaleidoscope studios.

kalidescope

It was simply amazing to see first hand how essential oils are made! I always thought the hydrosol  were the byproduct of distilling essential oils but a true hydrosol is made with that purpose in mind and then the essential oil is collected from the top of the hydrosols since the eo’s float on top!

Definition- Hydrosols, also known as floral waters, hydroflorates, flower waters or distillates are products from steam distilling plant materials. Hydrosols are like essential oils but in far less of a concentration.

There is so much hype on essential oils nowadays, attending this class has clarified quite a bit for me. While I do use a small amount of eo’s in my topical salves and in aromatherapy products I do not  use internally.  Too many people are overusing these precious oils at a crazy rate. Essential oils should be used cautiously no matter WHICH company you purchase them from. They are not candy or flavorings as some companies may have you think. Instead of adding a couple lemon drops to your water – use a real lemon! I saw a recipe for using basil essential oil in a pesto recipe or pizza recipe, can’t remember exactly BUT seriously what in the heck are you thinking  to use an essential oil as a spice instead of the spice? Go get some dang basil from the store or better yet your garden?!!!

Casual-daily-preventative-internal-use-of-oils

Ingestion-of-essential-oils-has-its-place-but-must-be-approached-cautiously Learningabouteos.com has a ton of good info for reading up on essential oils!

If the use of essential oils continue to that extent, we may not be able to keep up the growing of the plants especially the rare one or hard to get – frankincense, sandalwood and rosewood.

Back to that lemon water and basil “seasoning” – it takes 3000 lemons to make 1 kilo or 35 ounces of essential oil. It takes approximately 50 pounds of plants – basil, mints to make 1 pound of essential oil except for rose – 2300 pounds of flowers – uggghhh. AND peppermint? 1 drop of peppermint essential oil is equal to 24 cups of peppermint tea!!! I will drink the yummy tea instead, thank you.

OK now for the cool stuff of what we did, sorry didn’t mean to get on a soapbox! 😀

Our teacher was Chris Gambatese and here is his bio from The Homestead Atlanta, by the way please click their name for some more fabulous classes!! Lorna Mauney-Brodek assisted and bottled the hydrosol. Lorna is the Herbalista and runs the Herb Bus clinic in Atlanta – check her out too!

20160213_130926

 

About the Instructor:
Chris Gambatese is a brewer, distiller, & herbalist practicing in Cork City. He has been an avid grower of medicinal plants for 15 years. Also in that time, he undertook studies in Herbal Science and Medicine for 6 1/2 years and has continually experimented with various forms of medicine making, concentrating mainly on tinctures and aromatic waters. He is a bit obsessed with being in control of all steps from seed to bottle in the medicine making process. Chris also has an avid interest in field botany and wild crafting.

20160213_152529

Chris showed us the type of stills to use and why copper is better than stainless steel. The commercial eo companies use stainless steel but the copper is reactive to the plants and 4x more conductive so it is a faster process of obtaining the hydrosols and eo’s. Copper is also anti-microbial helping to make your hydrosols have a 1 year shelf life. The hydrosols can be used immediately rather than have them sit a couple months to age or whatever it was called.

He called the art of distilling magical because you are using the 5 elements of earth as you do the process:

  • Water – our solvent
  • Metal – the copper pot
  • Earth – the plant matter
  • Air – the vapor, gasses as the water boils
  • Fire – the flame under the pot

20160213_131116

Chris had 2kg or 4.5lbs fresh rosemary in a pot with approximately 2 gallons of water.

rosemary - Copy
Bella Vista Farm Rosemary

 

The still was assembled and the fire lit to bring it up to a boil then reducing the heat. At the same time there is heat, at the top of the still, cool water flows over the domed top which then makes the vapors hitting the cool top drop down into another chamber down a hose and into the beaker.

20160213_134211

20160213_134443

20160213_150208

Beaker quite full so at this point some of the hydrosol was decanted off and the process continued below.

20160213_153625

THAT is our hydrosol and essential oil. It took almost the whole 3 hour class to completely finish. The darker color in the pictures of the the liquid is the essential oil. It had separated at one point but came back together when beaker was removed and swirled slightly, like a centrifuge.

Out of that 4.5lbs of rosemary and 2 gallons of water, we got 50ish ounces of hydrosol and 1/2 ounce of essential oil. YEP 1/2 ounce!!!!! Each of us got to take home a small bottle of hydrosol. Sweet!

20160213_154452_resized

So what am I going to do with my hydrosol? Keep it all to myself until I can do it on my own!!! No really I am going to try it on my face, in a hair tonic and maybe add to a tincture. Chris told us by adding the hydrosols to our alcohol tinctures we create a layered medicine with more plant properties than just the alcohol or water or hydrosol. So cool! If you do take your hydrosols as internal medicines, take 1-3 teaspoons, depending on the herb up to 3x/day.

I will be uploading a video that I took of the decanting of the hydrosol and the essential oil as soon as I get permission. 😉

Hope you have a warm, cozy day today!

Anne-Marie

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑