Making it : Lavender Oil

Lavender is a delightful, easy-to-grow plant, that I was first inspired to try by a visit to Edinburgh, Scotland some years ago. Nick and I were newly married at the time of the trip and he was taking me to meet his beloved Aunt Lucy. She was truly an amazing woman who had a large aromatic patch of lavender growing in her garden. Sadly, she passed away a few years ago but the memory of her beautiful plants lingers on.

Lavender has always been my favourite scent for soaps, lotions and candles. Whenever given a choice it is always what I go for. This has been the case since I was little and my mom had this little basket thing hanging in her closet, that was filled with lavender. I loved it!

However, until the visit to Aunt Lucy, it had never occurred to me to grow my own. It does well in a very sunny dry location … basically, in a spot of the garden where pretty much nothing else will grow. My patch is beside the walkway to our front door, so from mid-June until September, visitors are greeted by the beautiful gentle aroma.

In previous years, in the fall I have cut it back, (as the plant really benefits from a yearly haircut), but have done nothing much with the cuttings, except put them in an open jar, where they would scent the room briefly until they dried out.

This year I decided to try making some lavender scented body oils in preparation of the upcoming long, extremely dry winter we get here. You know the saying, “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”?. Well, in much of Canada during the winter months, one could say, “it’s not the cold, it’s the bone-dry air”.

I liked the idea of using something to moisturize our skin that could actually be eaten, though the oils I am making are NOT to be consumed. I’m just saying that a person wouldn’t be seriously harmed by eating them as there are no added chemicals.

I wasn’t sure what oil to use, so decided to do a test between 3 choices: Olive oil, unscented baby oil and Castor oil (that I got at the health food store). Price-wise, they rank Castor as the most expensive, then Olive, followed by baby oil.

To make the lavender scented oil, I cut down the lavender and washed it (as it had been growing in a dusty city garden). Then I stripped the leaves and flowers (which had turned to dry seed casings by this time of year) from the stalks. In clean glass jars, I added the lavender and then poured the oil over-top, until the lavender was completely covered. The jars were sealed and stored in a dark cupboard. Now I have to wait at least a month for the lavender scent to be infused in the oil.

I’ll let you know the outcome when it’s ready.

Note: I am making ‘Lavender Infused Oil’, as opposed to ‘Lavender Essential Oil’, which requires the much more involved process of distillation.

Thanks for reading and happy Sunday! Hope you had a great week-end.

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