Harvest to Hydrosol, Ann Harman
Annie Harman is a distiller extraordinaire and I am happy to consider her a colleague as well as a friend. Her and I have talked back and forth alot about distilling over the years and I can attest that she is the best person to have authored this book – the first of its kind. This is a must have guide for distillers of hydrosols; either at home as a hobby or professionally.
As a bibliophile it is not surprising that she starts the book out with a history of stills and distilling. It is fascinating to read about the different types of stills used throughout history. This is followed by advice on how to choose a modern day still to fit your needs. Annie has the utmost respect for her stills and uses an analogy of the still being the Earth and the distillation process representing the earth’s water cycle of evaporation, transpiration and condensation.
As a scientist, Ann recognizes the importance of safety and keeping the work area/distillation area clean and sanitized. Being made typically on the farm, hydrosols/distillates are prone to being contaminated by airborne bacteria and fungus. She has great advice here.
Much of the book is about observations she has made during her distillations and its good that she has great record keeping skills. These observations dispel some common myths of hydrosols. The Appendix includes chemical analysis (GC/MS) of some hyrosols she has had tested. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in distilling, even for experienced distillers who want to learn how to make it more of an art.
Distillation is both an art and a science and very few ‘rules’ apply. However you choose to distill, know that this is an evolving field. Nothing is written in stone and there are many ways that you can choose to do your distillations. Make sure to make careful observations and document what you do so that you learn from every distillation you perform and find the right way for ‘You’ to distill.
You can purchase this book directly from the author at https://copperstills.com/products/
I've always wanted to try my hand at distilling essential oils. This book looks like the perfect place to start. Thanks for the recommendation.
I love to garden and am intrigued by the process of distilling my plants (hydrosols are a perfect way to enjoy the garden right through the winter!). It's great to know that there's a book out there that introduces the process and includes all the important points right down to choosing equipment and even keeping things sanitized. Great review!
This sounds like a wonderful book Cindy! I recently took a class on distilling hydrosols, and thought it was wonderful how much the teacher emphasized sanitizing the workspace. Thanks for sharing!
Glad you liked the review. Angela, you probably won't have enough plant material from a garden to get essential oils, but you can sure get the watery distillate which is great for skin.