How to Dry Lavender
Lavenders are flowering plants from the mint family of herbs. They are native to the Mediterranean, Arabia and India, but the cultivated forms are available and grown all over the world, especially in gardens. The color of its flowers has given rise to color lavender and lavender is also well known for its very pleasant aroma. Drying lavender blooms locks in the essence of the flowers so they can be used later for fragrance, in recipes or for conversion into oil.
Step 1 - Time your Harvest
Make sure you go for proper harvesting of your lavender in order to dry it. Do it just before the flower comes out of its bud. The morning time of a bright sun-drenched day is the best time to do it and possibly before the morning dew leaves the atmosphere. The blooms are pineapple shaped and are loaded with the essential oil. Some buds can hold their fragrance for years. Harvesting is best done when about a third of the flowers have already bloomed. Cut the stems with a sharp pair of shears and see that the stem length you cut has no leaves on them.
Step 2 - Gather the Stems
Gather all the lavender buds with stems into bunches that aggregate to about an inch in diameter. Hold them together with a rubber band. This will enable the bunch to stay together even when they start to dry up and lose their size. Tying them up with string could cause the stems to become loose and drop off from the bunch.
Step 3 - Hang up the Lavender to Dry
Once you have the bunches together, hang them upside down in a place that is dark and has no moisture. This upside down position will help them to retain their shape. Hanging them in a dark place will ensure the blooms do not fade because of the light.
Step 4 - Allow Drying Time
The blooms will take at least a week to ten days to dry out. This may vary with the weather. You may want to keep some sheets or newspapers below the bunches that you have hung up, as some blooms may get detached from the stems and fall down.
Step 5 - Collect the Buds
Roll the bunches in a pillowcase and roll this on a counter like you would do a rolling pin. This will make the buds detach from the stems ready to be harvested for the use you have of them. See that the roll is not too unwieldy. If there are too many bunches keep them for the next rolling activity. A roll should not be more than two or three inches, as anything bigger may be difficult to manipulate.
Step 6 - Use the Stems
Now that you have your lavender buds dried and ready for further use, preserve the stems. Use them to burn in a wood fire. The scent they release can be very aromatic.
Lavender buds can be dried and used for use in linen closets, in food, and even to make aromatic oil. The buds need to be harvested at the right time for the most effect and also dried out before they can be used.