I posted a photo of some freshly harvested lavender on my Facebook page the other day, and one of my readers asked for tips on how to harvest, dry and use lavender. Instead of adding a long comment on Facebook, I decided to write this post.
How To Harvest Lavender
The best time to harvest lavender is before the flower buds have fully opened, but you can harvest them after they open too, the fragrance just won’t be as strong.
Harvesting lavender is easy. Simply snip the stem of the flower directly below the flowers.
|How to harvest lavender|
You can cut the stems longer if desired, which would work better for flower arrangements or hanging.
|Freshly harvested lavender|
How To Dry Lavender
Drying lavender is just as easy as harvesting it, and there are several ways to dry lavender.
Lavender drys fairly quickly, so you could simply lay it on a dry counter top or table. You could also spread it out on some newspaper or a drying rack. It should only take a few days for lavender to dry out if laid flat. You’ll know the lavender is done drying when the flowers feel brittle.
|Drying lavender on the counter|
Many sites say to tie the stems of lavender in a bundle, and hang them upside down to dry. I find this method tedious, and it really isn’t necessary. If you want to ensure the stems stay upright while they’re drying, you can dry them upside down. If you chose to use this method for drying lavender, tie the bundle loosely and hang it in a warm, dry location to avoid mildew.
I use a dehydrator to dry my lavender. My dehydrator has a setting for herbs, which is what I use. If your dehydrator doesn’t have this setting, dry lavender on your dehydrators lowest setting. It only takes a couple hours for lavender to dry in a dehydrator, and the whole house smells wonderful while it’s drying.
|Lavender drying in a dehydrator|
How To Use Lavender
Lavender has so many wonderful uses, that I won’t even attempt to list them all here. My favorite use for lavender is making lavender tea. You could also use dried lavender to make potpourri or lavender sachets to freshen up closets and drawers. Lavender doesn’t have to be dried in order to be used. Fresh or dried lavender can be used for cooking or baking, tossed into salads, in tea or other drinks like cocktails and lemonade, or sprinkled into bath water. Someone told me they made lavender cookies once, how yummy does that sound?
|Making lavender tea|
How To Store Dried Lavender
You can remove the flower buds from the stem by gently running your fingers along the stem, or you can store dried lavender stems whole.
|Removing lavender flowers from the stem|
I like to store dried lavender in a mason jar, or it can be stored in a paper bag or box. Dried lavender can be stored for several years, but the scent will fade over time.
|Store dried lavender in mason jars|
What are your favorite uses for fresh or dried lavender?