Steam distillation

1/2 " copper pipe

Steam distillation requires the use of a simple pot still, and an example of such a still, improvised from a coffee pot, is shown in Figure 9 to illustrate the principle. Depending on how much steam distilling you are thinking of carrying out you may wish to devise and make a much larger and better one. One requirement is that it must have a large opening for introducing and removing the botanicals, these botanicals either being used loose or contained in a muslin bag for easy removal. A pressure cooker with a steam condensing system silver-soldered to the lid would work very well, the only disadvantage being that they are somewhat expensive.

3/4 " copper pipe

Cooling water m

\ Coffee pot J

Hotplate

The condenser is made from a short length of 3/4-inch copper tubing

FIGURE 9. FLAVOURING STILL

acting as a cold water jacket around an internal _-inch copper tube. Adapters for connecting 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch tubing are standard items and are used for sealing the jacket to the inside tube. Cold water inlet and outlet tubes are soldered to the jacket as shown. A large cork, obtainable from any wine-maker's supply store, is used as lid and has a hole drilled in the centre to take the 1/2-inch copper tubing from the condenser. It looks crude, and it is crude, but its saving grace is that it works and is very cheap. In operation there is very little pressure in the apparatus and no problems are encountered with steam leakage.

The botanicals and water are placed in the flask and the water brought to the boil. The steam generated releases the flavouring constituents from the herbs and carries them over into the condenser in the form of oily drops suspended in water.

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