Methods for the Making of Jasmine Flower Extract

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Making your own perfumes and other scented toiletries is easier than many people realize. The hardest part is waiting during the process to extract the fragrance from your flowers and herbs. While you can skip that step and use commercially prepared essential oils, there’s something satisfying about knowing you did the whole thing “from scratch,” and it’s less expensive to work with the flowers you already have in your garden. There are several ways to extract jasmine scent from the petals, all of which will provide you with oil for perfumes, lotions and soaps.

Old-School Enfluerage

Enfluerage involves pressing plant material into fat to pull out the volatile oils. You can render your own tallow, or you can buy lard at the supermarket.

Things You'll Need

  • Lard 
  • Nesting glass dishes
  • Saucepan (optional)
  • Cheesecloth (optional)
  • Rubber bands (optional)
  • Paring knife
  • Fresh jasmine petals
  • Electrical or duct tape
  • Sealable glass bottles
  • 70-percent rubbing alcohol
  • Oil of cedar or oil of sandalwood (optional)

Step 1

Spread the cheesecloth over the larger of your dishes and secure it tautly. Melt the lard in the saucepan and pour the melted fat through the cheesecloth to strain it. If you’ve bought pure lard from the store, you can skip this step.

Step 2

Tilt the glass dish to level the fat and let it set until it is nearly solid. You want a layer about 1/2-inch thick, although it doesn’t have to be exact. Just before it gets to the solid stage, score it with a paring knife. This provides more surface area for the jasmine oil to seep into.

Step 3

While the lard is cooling, remove all of the stems, stamens, leaves and other material from the jasmine. You want only the petals; other parts of the plant can harbor fungi that may spoil your essential oil.

Step 4

Make sure that the petals are dry by lightly patting them with paper or kitchen towels to remove any water drops.

Step 5

Add a 2-inch layer of jasmine on top of the solidified lard.

Step 6

Set the smaller dish inside the larger and press it down to push the petals into the lard. Tape the two dishes together completely so that no air is getting into or out of the package.

Step 7

Place the dishes in a cool, dark place for 48 hours before removing the tape and petals.

Step 8

Replace the old flowers with fresh ones and reseal the containers. Repeat this replacement two or three more times, until the fat is as full of jasmine oil as possible.

Step 9

Remove the flowers and chop the fat into small pieces.

Step 10

Press the fat into bottles to about the halfway mark. Fill the bottles completely with rubbing alcohol and seal them completely.

Tip

  • Cork-and-bail bottles work well for this, as they are easy to seal. You can also use electrical tape to seal other types of bottles.

Step 11

Leave the bottles in a dark place for 3 months before straining the alcohol into clean bottles.

Step 12

If you choose, you can add oil of cedar or sandalwood as a fixative to keep the alcohol from evaporating as quickly. They will add their own fragrance, so experiment with the amount to add. Start with three drops to 1/2 cup of alcohol.

Extraction With Oil or Alcohol

Jasmine has a light fragrance, so extracting the oils with more oil may not result in as strong an aroma. Depending on what you plan to use it for, alcohol may give you a better product. The process, however, is the same with either one.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass container
  • Fresh jasmine petals
  • Ethyl alcohol, vodka or carrier oil (not rubbing alcohol)

Tip

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and sweet almond oil make good carriers.

Step 1

Remove all the extraneous material from the flowers and place the petals in a non-reactive (glass or plastic) container.

Step 2

Cover the flowers with alcohol or oil and leave them in a dark place for 48 hours.

Step 3

Remove the flowers and squeeze them into the alcohol or oil to get all the essential oil.

Step 4

Add fresh flowers to the carrier and repeat the process. Do this six or seven times.

Step 5

If you used alcohol as the carrier, place the container in the freezer until the jasmine rises and freezes. Skim it off the top of the alcohol, which will not freeze.

Maceration to Extract the Oils

Maceration is similar to the extraction with oil method, except you chop the petals first. You can also speed this process a little with some kitchen tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh jasmine petals
  • Paring knife or oolu
  • Canning jars, lids and rings
  • Carrier oil
  • Vitamin E oil or wheat germ oil (optional)
  • Double-boiler or slow-cooker (optional)
  • Sieve or cheesecloth

Step 1

Remove everything from the flowers except the petals and make sure that there is no water on the petals. Chop them as finely as possible.

Step 2

Fill the sterilized jars with chopped petals and then with the carrier oil of your choice.

Tip

  • Mixing about 5 percent of wheat germ oil or Vitamin E oil helps prevent the scented oil from getting rancid.

Step 3

Set the jars in direct sunlight and leave them for 3 weeks, shaking them every day, before straining the oil through a sieve or cheesecloth.

Step 4

To speed up the extraction process, place the jars in a bain-marie in a double-boiler for an hour or in a slow-cooker overnight. Add water to the saucepan or slow-cooker to reach about a third to halfway up the sides of the jars.

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