How to Make Your Own Essential Oils
Making essential oils is slightly time consuming but the payoff is huge since the price of oils at the store can be aggressive. Making it at home is cheap as chips and easy enough that really anyone can do it.
There’s two ways to “cure” the oils, it just depends on how impatient you are. You can do it the full-on natural way, by leaving the oils in the sun for three to six weeks to percolate and turn into the juiciness that will be your infusion, or you can cook your flowers or herbs to achieve the same results in a day.
First, you harvest. Make sure you harvest a lot. If you’re making a small mason jar worth of oil, you’ll need 3-4 times that in flowers. For instance, if you want to make lavender oil – you will harvest the lavender and dry it out (at least for a couple days) then clip and crush it a bit and take the thick stems out before emerging in the oil. Leave a couple inches of space at the top of the jar and close it tightly. The best oil bases to use are olive, safflower, or grape seed oil. Then leave in the sun for 3-6 weeks and voila, lovely essential oil. Once you take it out of the sun, you’ll need a cheese cloth to strain the oil off so that all the bits of lavender are gone. Don’t leave anything in cause those leave-behinds can rot in the oil and that’s gross. It’s always best to harvest more than you think you need because if you find that the oil isn’t strong enough after 3 weeks, you can use the same oil infusion and add more lavender, repeating the process above.
The second method is to cook the flowers. You can crush them into the oil on low heat and cook for 5-6 hours, stirring every hour or place in the oven on low (150-190) for 5-6 hours. Once you take it out, you need to strain it through a cheese cloth and voila! Essential oils.
If you have access to a valley of wildflowers, or a lilac bush in your backyard or you have tons of left over herbs at the end of the season (like sage which is so so lovely to smell but not used so much in cooking) then making essential oils is a fun way to use what’s left from your garden.
If you want a great step by step video, this one by Keila is entertaining and informative.
all photos from Green Heart Gardens, a badass place to learn how to make a lot of really cool stuff from the garden