Steam Distillation Of Lavender Essential Oil

It may not come as a surprise to you that here on our lovely Jersey Lavender Farm we absolutely love our lavender – so much so that we have some lavender plants that are over 20 years old! And as a result we are dedicated to making sure that we treat our lavender with the utmost care at every stage of its lifecycle. Whether it’s nurturing new lavender plants in the nursery, tending to our established plants and bringing them to bloom, harvesting the lavender with the utmost care and at exactly the right moment to ensure the gorgeous oil is at it’s very best, drying it with patience and care, expertly distilling the essential oil or hand crafting our range of fantastic products.

Each of these steps requires skill and dedication, but today we thought that we’d let you into a few secrets of the distilling process, that is exactly how we extract the essential oils from our lovely lavender.

Here at Jersey Lavender we believe that the very best method of extracting the essential oil from lavender is to use steam distillation. The still itself consists of 4 main parts; a heat source, the distilling chamber, a condenser and a collection vessel. To extract essential oils from lavender there are a number of steps:

  1. Place the lavender buds and flowers inside the distilling chamber.
  2. Seal the still and ignite the heat source underneath the water which is at the bottom of the chamber.
  3. Increase the pressure inside the chamber. This will ensure that delicate volatile constituents of the oil boil and evaporate at a lower temperature thus ensuring that they are not damaged or compromised during the distillation process.
  4. As the water boils, steam is released which breaks through the plant material and releases the essential oils which then evaporate in the steam.
  5. The mixture of essential oils and steam then rise up to the top of the distillation chamber, where they then enter the condenser.
  6. The condenser is a cooled tube which runs downwards from the top of the condenser. When the vapour hits the surface of the tube it cools and turns back into liquid, which is a mixture of water and the essential oil.
  7. This liquid then drips down into the collecting vessel, where the essential oil and water separate and the oil can be collected.

Of course this makes the process sound somewhat simpler than it actually is, as setting and maintaining the precise pressure and temperature to ensure that the essential oil is fully extracted without being anyway damaged often feels more like an art form than a science. However when we get to sample a new batch of perfect Jersey Lavender Essential Oil, it all feels worthwhile!

Jersey Lavender Farm Shop