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Hydrosols: Farm to Bottle

Aromatherapist prepping hydrosol distiller

We are so passionate about organic agriculture and quality herbs that we make regular trips to visit our growers. And we always have a blast! Not only does it expand our understanding of our farmers and what we can do to support them, but it also gives us a chance to make sure that the highest quality processing starts before the goods arrive at our facility. This time around, we got to go behind-the-scenes to see how our amazing hydrosols are made.

What are hydrosols? Hydrosols are produced by distilling fresh leaves, fruits, flowers, and other plant materials. With similar properties to essential oils, these aromatic waters are much less concentrated. They make wonderful single ingredient perfumes, deodorants, facial toners, air fresheners, and aromatherapy sprays.

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Our fragrant field trip

Tucked among the rolling hills of northeastern Washington is a quaint family owned and operated organic farm. At the peak of distillation season, we spent a day with these artisan distillers who are passionate about creating high-quality organic hydrosols.

We couldn’t pass up a tour! We visited the greenhouse where trays of little green friends were awaiting transplant, and then we headed to the fields. We passed row after row of organic botanicals awaiting harvest. St. John’s wort, rose geranium, lemon thyme, and lemon balm were just a few of the plants grown right on the farm for processing.

Hydrosol Distiller

Getting the herbs ready

In preparation of distilling our certified organic Cucumber Hydrosol, we started by breaking open over 100 pounds of crisp, mouthwatering cucumbers to release their aroma. We also filled five copper alembic stills with fresh lemon thyme, peppermint, tulsi, and rose geranium. Started from seed, all of these organic botanicals were grown with care and harvested right before distillation.

After loading the bottom of the stills with fresh plant material and water, the tall column was attached, filled with more plant material, and then sealed to create the ideal space for generating steam needed to extract the aromatic goodness of the botanicals.

Hydrosol output from distiller

Hydrosol making time!

It didn’t take long for the scents of fresh cucumbers, intoxicating rose geranium, eye-opening peppermint, spicy tulsi, and bright lemon thyme to fill the air. After the steam from the stills passed through the plant to capture these incredible fragrances, it flowed into a condenser which fed into a funnel that separated the aromatic water from the small amounts of essential oils that were also extracted. As the funnel filled with organic hydrosol, a slow stream was released into a container for final packaging and sale.

We are overjoyed to be able to work with these organic hydrosol producers who specialize in crafting high-quality aromatic extracts. We expect these beautiful hydrosols to arrive at our loading docs later this spring.

 

Find Our Recipes Containing Hydrosols

 

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Assortment of Hydrosols

Topics: Aromatherapy Education, On the Farm, Sustainability

Christine

Written by Christine on April 6, 2017

Christine, Products Manager and Certified Aromatherapist, is super knowledgeable about all our products after having spent more than a decade at Mountain Rose Herbs. When she isn’t overseeing our line of thousands of sustainable offerings, she can be found gardening, running around with her energetic daughter, canning and preserving food, crafting botanical perfumes, and spending time outdoors.