Looking to preserve the fragrance of fresh lavender? Follow these tips for harvesting, drying and storing!
I have an abundance of lavender in my yard and garden right now and it’s one of my favorite plants to clip, dry and store for use throughout the months. I often bundle it fresh when it’s in season and share bunches with friends and neighbors as a thank you or a little pick me up. As for the flowers, once they are dried, they are great in potpourri, bath salts, and even tucked into a jar of sugar or honey to make an aromatic sweetener! I have even made lavender wreaths with it!
If you happen to have some lavender in your garden or can find it at the farmers market, consider gathering it into bundles and drying it for use throughout the year. It’s renowned for its soothing aromatic and relaxing benefits so why not harness that for busy days ahead?
Here are some tips for harvesting, bundling, drying, and storing!
Step 1: Harvesting: It’s best to harvest or purchase your lavender during a dry spell so choose a sunny morning to harvest (or purchase) your lavender. Cut the stems with sharp scissors or garden shears, leaving a few inches of the stem intact. This will ensure that the lavender bunches hold together during the drying process. (Here in Seattle, I generally harvest it in July or August shortly after full bloom.)
Step 2: Bundling: Gather 10-15 stems together and tie them at the base with a string or rubber band. Make sure the stems are facing in the same direction. Create multiple small bundles rather than one large bundle to allow for better airflow and even drying.
Step 3: Hanging: Find a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area for drying. Hang the lavender bundles upside down, ensuring they are not overcrowded and have enough space for air circulation. You can use hooks, clotheslines, or a drying rack to hang them. This is an important factor because moisture may cause the bundles to get moldy before fully dried.
Step 4: Drying Time: Allow the lavender to dry naturally for about two to four weeks. The drying time may vary depending on the humidity and temperature of your environment. The lavender is ready when the flowers feel dry and crumble easily when rubbed between your fingers.
Step 5: Removing Leaves: Once dried, gently remove the leaves from the stems by running your fingers along the stem. You can discard the leaves or use them in potpourri or sachets.
Step 6: Storing: Place the dried lavender flowers in an airtight container, such as a glass jar or a resealable bag. Make sure the container is clean and dry to prevent moisture from affecting the quality of the lavender. Store the container in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight, which can cause the flowers to fade.
Step 7: Labeling: Don’t forget to label your container with the date of drying and the type of lavender if you have different varieties. This will help you keep track of freshness and differentiate between different batches.
For additional inspiration on using lavender, check out my blog posts:
How to Make Lavender Honey, June 23, 2021
Simple Aromatic Lavender Shortbread, June 16, 2021