How to dry lavender?
How to prune lavender for drying?
Harvesting lavender is very easy. All you need for this is a sharp secateurs. Then the ends of the stems after cutting will be intact, which will make our work much easier at later stages of the drying process. Our ancestors used sickles for shearing, but for the modern user, a more user-friendly tool will be an ergonomic secateurs.
When to cut lavender for drying?
The ideal time to get down to picking lavender is July or August. Specifically, this is the moment just before the flowers are in full bloom. Lavender is suitable for cutting when most of the flowers are still in bud, but the color of the inflorescences is already visible. At this stage of the plant's development, it contains the most essential oils.
The time of day is also not insignificant. Harvesting of lavender should be done at noon, because at this time the concentration of oils is higher than in the evening. In addition, this is supported by the fact that the plant has already had time to dry from the morning dew (this is very important, since excess moisture could lead to the rapid appearance of mold during drying).
How to dry lavender properly?
Harvesting and drying lavender are processes that don't like haste. Any attempt to speed up could undermine the efforts to date. Therefore, we advise against drying in the scorching sun (lavender loses its beautiful color then) or in the oven (we remove much of the precious oils from the plant).
The only right option is slow, natural drying at temperatures below 40°C. Thanks to this treatment, we will protect the valuable volatile substances contained in lavender, while the flowers will retain their beautiful color. Such drying of lavender makes the quality of the dried product noticeably higher than with other techniques.
Start drying the flowers by dividing the cut portions into small bouquets, which you should then tie with a rubber band (during drying, the stems shrink, so the string may not work). Hang the bunches prepared in this way with the inflorescence down in an airy, shady and not too warm place.
Drying lavender flowers usually takes about a week, sometimes longer. After this time, it is worth making sure that the plant is completely dry. This is the case when the flower easily separates from the stem. Otherwise, residual moisture will quickly cause mold to appear on the flowers.
Drying lavender - what's next?
If you need lavender for a vase, you can gather dried bunches into larger bouquets and leave them in a conspicuous place to decorate the apartment and give off an aroma.
Otherwise, immediately after drying, the flowers should be separated from the stems (when doing so, you need to be very careful not to crush them). The flowers can be placed in linen sachets or stored in a sealed glass container. This will help the lavender retain its unique aroma longer.
Use of dried lavender
Flowers not separated from stems usually form decorative bouquets. Dried lavender is also used:
- in the cosmetics industry, as an additive to natural bath salts and soaps;
- in the kitchen to prepare unusual cakes and desserts;
- as the basis of a healthful infusion (only some species);
- as fragrance pouches filled with dried (they emit a pleasant fragrance in small rooms or in the car, for example);
- as protection against the effects of feeding clothes moths (sachets of lavender are then placed in closets, drawers, closets, dressers, etc.)., (and in addition to its repellent qualities, lavender gives textiles a pleasant natural fragrance).
Drying lavender is a process that can be done in almost any home. The resulting drought offers so many possibilities that it is not worth waiting until next year. Prepare your own drought or order it and enjoy its beneficial effects on your health.
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