So, you’ve managed to grow and harvest the most magnificent lavender plants on the planet. The fragrance is there for the taking, but how do you start? How do you most effectively extract those precious essential oils? Ruling out chemicals and other contaminants, your best bet is cold water extraction. With this simple process all you need is a set of high-quality extractor bags, a bucket, some ice water and something you can use to stir.
Choose XXXtractor Bag Quality for your Herbal Extracts
The only real decisions to be made before starting are: selection of extraction bags and the number of bags (or grades) you intend to use. We like to work with XXXtractor bags because they are fully assembled in Canada. Also, they use the toughest 100% waterproof nylon fabric available for the side walls, with a specially engineered, industrial-grade, Swiss polyester yarn mesh for precise, reliable and durable filtration.
The basic set includes three bags with escalating grades of filtration: 25 microns, 75 microns, and 220 microns. For those who prefer more grades of filtration, there is a 5 bag set that includes 100 and 150 microns. These extra extractor bags allow you to separate your herbal essences into 5 different grades of purity. Also, if you grow a variety of plants with different crystal sizes, additional filtration levels allow you to capture the optimal extract from your entire garden. (Depending on the amount of plant material you are working with, XXXtractor bags are available in 1 gallon, 5 gallon, 14 gallon and 55 gallon sizes.)
Step-by-step Cold Water Extraction Process
The process is simple:
- Insert one bag into another with the finest filtration level on the bottom (25 microns) working up to the highest (220 microns) and line the bucket with the entire set of extractor bags
- Add cold water to the bucket until it is half-way full
- Add the plant material to the water and spread it around evenly
- Add enough ice to cover all the plant material
- Stir vigorously for approximately 20 minutes – feel free to cheat with a hand mixer
- Carefully remove each extractor bag individually and let the water drain completely over the bucket, before setting aside.
For those who are veterans in the world of cold water extraction and prefer to enlist the help of a washing machine before adding plant material to the extractor bags; XXXtractor offers two sizes of mesh Wash Bags to be used with small washing machines such as the bubble machine or regular size machines. Cool demonstration videos are available online such as the one below.