Rosmarinol: A rosemary ascorbate film developer
Over the weekend I decided to give a rosemary developer a try. The idea stems from the "Edible Film Developer" thread that went on for seemingly ever, but which never produced a real formula, so to speak. Since most of the natural developing compounds are acids with fairly low solubility in water, I decided to add 2g of caustic soda (NaOH) to get the sodium salt which should theoretically be more soluble. In addition, most of these compounds are not active enough on their own, and like phenidone and coffee, seemed like candidates for ascorbate. Rosemary contains rosmarinic acid which is the prime suspect as a film developer in this plant, as it is related to caffeic acid. So the formula is:
110 g of fresh rosemary shoots (it's about two handfuls - it seemed like the right amount to use)
2 g caustic soda in one liter of water
Boil for 20 minutes in a stainless steel saucepan, strain and rinse out the leaves with a final 100 ml or so of water, press out the last liquid as far as possible and cast through a tea sieve. Ignore the green appearance. Try to ignore the aroma, or do this part outside.
Allow to cool down. Add a further 14.7 g of caustic soda, 42.8 g baking soda and 18 g sodium ascorbate (or use the rest of the Caffenol C-H recipe).
I used Lucky SHD100 as it is the cheapest film I have available. It was developed for 15 min at 20 deg C. The results are:
I have seen quite few photographs of coffee mugs and coffee beans developed in caffenol, so I thought a rosmarinol test should at least contain a photo or two of rosemary. And what is a photo thread without a cat. The film looks as if it was developed normally in Rodinal or HC-110. No tint or stain, and not too much fogging as far as I can see. I also tried Kentmere 400, which produced slightly more fog but still very usable images, very similar to Rodinal.
Any ideas welcome, especially if you are going to try them yourselves. My son complained bitterly about the smell, and in hindsight it is a project to be done outdoors, or when you are alone at home. Also, it is a lot more work than mixing Rodinal, so try it if you are after adventure, not convenience.
A final note: Caustic soda and potassium hydroxide react with aluminium, the hotter and more concentrated the solution, the more vigorous the reaction. Do NOT use aluminium saucepans or utensils with hydroxides. The byproduct of this reaction is hydrogen, which is flammable and/or explosive. Be careful.
dorff: you're acheving far better result than me. I use R09 one shot... Enuff' said! Great!
Hadn't paid much attention to the "Edible Film Developer" thread. Very interesting. My Wife has a nice herb garden which we use for cooking. Guess I better go get some rosemary and try this out. We certainly have plenty. By the way, I like the smell, so that's not a problem.
How fascinating! Who'd have thunk that the gnarled old rosemary bush in my front garden could actually come in useful! Thank you for posting your formula and results! :-)
Pssssssst - anyone wanna buy some rosemary? £10 a kilo... j/k :-D
Last edited by kevs; 09-09-2012 at 07:28 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: engage brain before posting!
Huh, I don't know much about chemistry having failed first year more than once :-[ so I can't help with your formula, but it's pretty impressive as it is!
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@ Bruce: Apparently there are quite a few herbs and vegetables that contain potential film developers. In addition, I have read somewhere that even the sugars like glucose and fructose, and possibly chlorophyll, are potential developing agents. In a cocktail such as this, the "developer" might be more than one compound, but that doesn't matter if it works! Once one adds the alkali, the smell changes a bit for the worse, though it is still very recognisably rosemary. If you have mint, you can also give that a go, and it is likely to smell better. We are only entering spring now, and our mint is not yet green enough. Maybe someone can use the recipe above and let us know if it works.
Rosemary also makes the most refreshing tea I have ever tried!
beautiful work dorff !
i am looking forward to the next group
Quite remarkable! Thanks for sharing. I think I might actually try this one but have a few questions:
1) it seems to me that if I boil a liter of water for 20 minutes...there will not be much water left. Do you add during boiling?
2) again, after boiling, is any more water added...as in add water to make...???
3) Sodium hydroxide and sodium bicarb? Doesn't that liberate whole bunch of CO2 ?
Thanks again..for posting a recipe and especially for the real results.
1) No, I use distilled water to start with, and basically simmer it at low heat, like if you would make a stew. With a lid on the saucepan, most of what evaporates condenses back into the saucepan.
2) I made the final volume up to 1 liter, simply because that is what the caffenol H formula is based on. The remains of the rosemary retain a lot of water, maybe 150 ml. So it is better to start with slightly less water, then when you squeeze out the liquid from the leaves, you can estimate how much water to add to flush the leaves again and squeeze out the remaining 'juice'.
3) No: NaOH + NaHCO3 -> Na2CO3 + H2O. NaOH and NaHCO3 are always water-free, and can be measured accurately. Na2CO3 has three hydration states (0, 1 and 10) and you have to find out which, or bake it dry in a hot oven first.
Good luck ;-).