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Making your own essential oil?

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Basil

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I'm wondering if anyone has experience with making your own essential oil ? We have quite a few juniper trees and therefore tons of juniper berries. I've dried and crushed them and used in my soap, but I'd love to make my own juniper essential oil. I think it could be quite pricey, but any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
 

KimW

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Jealous of your juniper trees! The "easiest" way to make most essential oils at home is to use a still.

Here's a pretty good video that shows the process using a still:

Here's a general article on how essential oils are made:
 

DeeAnna

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Some botanicals give a decent yield of EO, and maybe your junipers are one of those. A good yield is often 1-2%, but many plants have a much lower yield than that (and some don't yield EO at all). Even with the best plants, you have to distill a LOT of botanical material for every drop of EO.

For example, if you need 1 oz (about 30 grams) of EO for a batch of soap based on 1 pound (500 g) of fats, and the plant you're distilling yields 1% EO by weight, you'd have to distill 100 times that -- 3000 grams or 6-7 pounds -- to get that much EO. Not saying it can't be done, just that it takes a fair amount dedication, time, plant material, and fuel to get there.

IMO, small scale distillation is better suited to making hydrosols than EOs. A person can produce enough hydrosol in one batch to be useful. And hydrosols can be made from plants that don't produce any EO.
 

Basil

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For example, if you need 1 oz (about 30 grams) of EO for a batch of soap based on 1 pound (500 g) of fats, and the plant you're distilling yields 1% EO by weight, you'd have to distill 100 times that -- 3000 grams or 6-7 pounds --

IMO, small scale distillation is better suited to making hydrosols than EOs. A person can produce enough hydrosol in one batch to be useful. And hydrosols can be made from plants that don't produce any EO.
Thank you DeeAnna. I had seen something about hydrosols when I was looking earlier, but after seeing your suggestion and researched more that all makes sense. I started looking at past posts and noticed this is not the first time someone has asked. I also started watching some you tube videos on hydrosols today. A couple of years ago I made soap with rose hydrosol someone had given me, but hadn't made the distinction. The whole area we live in is full of juniper trees and pinion trees as well. Although good for goats, seemed a waste not to figure out how to use them (needles and berries) more. There's going to be more than Thanksgiving dinner on the stove this week. I'll let you know how it turns out. I appreciate your help!
 

DeeAnna

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Research how to distill for the best quality hydrosol as opposed to distilling for EO yield. The general method is the same, but you may want to stop the process sooner for the best quality hydrosol. If you distill too long, undesirable notes of dry hay and "overcooked veggies" can mar the hydrosol's aroma.
 

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