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how to dry lavender

How to dry lavender for the best results

Drying lavender is quite simple, but you can make mistakes that cost you a lot of time. If you dry your lavender right, you can enjoy the best smells. I tell you how I do it.

To dry lavender I first bundle the flowers with an elastic band. This rubber band is important because the stems become thinner during drying. I label the bunches with the cultivars name and time of harvesting. That matters if you have different cultivars and different moments of harvesting.

how to dry lavender

Dry lavender dark, dry, dust-free and with good ventilation

The bunches I hang in the basement just below the ceiling. In the cellar the window is always open. Dark, dry, dust-free and with good ventilation, these are the most important conditions. under the bunches of lavender, I’ve stretched a clean sheet to catch the flowers that are letting loose.

drying lavender

You will notice when the flowers are dry. The buds then release relatively easily from the stem. Check them regularly and do not let them hang too short or too long.

How to detach the lavender buds from the stem?

I have tried a lot of methods to detach the buds from the stem and this one works best for me: a clean pillowcase. I put a bunch of lavender in a clean pillowcase and then carefully roll the bunch back and forth. After a few rolls you pull the bunch of bare stems out of the pillowcase. Only the flowers are left behind. Which you then store in a closed bag or container.

Tip: remove leaves immediately from the stems when harvesting

Remove leaves immediately from the stems during harvesting and before you make bunches, this saves a lot of work later on. As well as pruning the plants twice a year. Last year I harvested lavandin from a friend. Because the plants were not pruned, it was impossible to harvest the flowers without leaves. And I didn’t know then that leaves are very annoying to separate from the flowers when everything is dry. Endlessly I had to get the lavender through the sieve before I only had the flowers.

This time I hung up the lavender bunches without the leaves, that’s going to save me a lot of work. 🙂

 

 

Lavender harvest for the very first time

The first lavender harvest could never be great. The test field I started with this spring contains only 40 plants. Moreover, the harvest in the first year is simply not high. But still, the first results can be there.

first lavender harvest
First lavender harvest: an explosion of scents and colors

Explosion of scents and colors

Not all lavenders gave a good yield right away, but some varieties just kept on flowering. The smell of 13 different types of lavender comes to me as I descend the stairs to the basement. Because that is where I dry the harvest bunches. What an explosion of fragance!

The sweet scent of the lavandula angustfolia

Especially the sweet scent of some angustfolias is fantastic. And then the colors. Varying from white to the darkest blue. In comparison, the lavandin that I was allowed to harvest from a friend is a bit pale in color.

lavender harvest of lavandin
Lavandin, harvested in the Alpujarras at the foot of the Sierra Nevada

I was actually a bit late with the harvest. Within a few days the lavender flowers automatically felt from their stalks into the bed cover that hangs underneath the bundles. I think I should harvest earlier next time.

Sustainable lavender harvest

But what to do with all those buzzing bees above those beautiful flowers? Harvesting the flowers sooner is not necessarily in favor of the bees, who already have such a difficult time. If I have more lavender plants, I will leave them some flowers.

Lavender flowers, good for the bees
Next time I’ll leave more flowers for the bees. They have a hard enough time. Even in the nature reserve where I live, pesticides are unfortunately the most common thing.
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