If you are growing lavender in your home garden, mid-July to early August is the time to harvest and dry those wonderful mauve flowers and start thinking about how to make the best use of them around the house after the summer.
Preparing your Harvest
Remember that it’s best to harvest lavender flowers before they entirely come into bloom. This helps ensure you get the richest of their perfume once dried.
Make a small bouquet using about 10 stems and simply tie the bundle with a loose elastic. Anything larger may not dry properly and can even develop mould.
If your harvest was particularly plentiful, resist the temptation to make one big bouquet. Make several small ones instead.
Drying Lavender with Natural Heat
To make sure your lavender flowers keep their gorgeous mauve colour, dry them somewhere dark. They can lose some of their colour drying in sunlight.
Choose a warm, dry room that is well ventilated to dry your lavender.
Simply hang your small lavender bouquet upside down on a hook, a nail, or with a string.
Your lavender needs to dry for at least two weeks, sometimes up to a month. You’ll know it is ready when the little flower buds fall off the stem when you lightly touch them with your finger. You can also try bending a stem. If it snaps clean off, it’s ready! If not, give it more time to dry.
Drying Lavender in the Oven
This method of drying lavender is the quickest, but you’ll need to keep a close watch on the operation. If left in the oven too long, your lavender could burn.
Preheat your oven to its lowest temperature (usually about 200° C). Spread a few branches out on a baking sheet and slide it into the oven for 10 minutes leaving the door slightly open. Keep an eye on them the entire time. Your lavender will be officially dry once the stems snap clean off when you try to bend them.
Using Your Dried Lavender
Once dried, keep the flowers on their stems and make a big, beautiful bouquet. Make an all-lavender bouquet or mix in other dried flowers if you want to get creative! Your bouquet will fill the room with a soft, lovely perfume.
Make a little potpourri bag (called a “sachet”) by filling a small muslin bag with your dried lavender flowers. You can then place it in a drawer, a nightstand, in your washroom… or in your suitcase before a trip!
Create a homemade herbes de Provence blend using your lavender flowers and dried oregano, sage, and thyme from your garden.
You can also harvest Munstead lavender flowers to use in the kitchen (or buy our looseleaf lavender tea from our boutique). Always make sure you’ve harvested the right variety of lavender as some can be toxic. Use the flowers in your scone, muffin, or sable biscuit recipes! So many ways to bake with lavender!
You can also make a simple Munstead lavender syrup to add to lemonade and homemade cocktails. Use 1.7 L of water for every half cup of sugar and lavender to taste. Some even mix it in their iced coffee!
It's so easy to dry lavender and there are so many ways to use it around the house, from home décor to the kitchen. What’s not to love?