Friday, October 31, 2014
Harvesting The Last of the Lavender
I have been putting it off.... schedule is too busy... but with a hard freeze coming, I was spurred to get the rest of the harvest in. I sure didn't want all of that lovely and great smelling lavender to go to waste... to freeze out in the gardens. So, I took my huge stainless steel bowl and a pair of scissors to the garden. I live in the city, so I don't have rows and rows of my herbs, but I have them tucked here and there. For the lavender, I have a few different kinds and I harvested the rest of all of them.
There is more in this bowl than it looks like... I am so glad that I didn't lose all of this. :)
I love using herbs... there are so many ways to do so... in teas, sachets, tinctures, salves and more.
It is pleasant to have them drying and releasing some of their wonderful fragrance into the air.
This is one of the types of lavender... the nice thing about having different types of lavender is that they look a bit different, some flower at different times ... and the scents are also a bit unique... some are strong and robust in their scent, while others are soft and gently scented.
A different type of lavender than the picture above. Sorry that I can't tell you the name of each type... I am getting better at it, but am still dependent on labels. :)
I kept the same kinds of lavender together and put them into bundles which I held together with rubber bands. I seem to go through a LOT of rubber bands at this time of year. :)
After cutting all of these and bringing them into the house, the smell was wonderful. :)
You can dry these in several ways... one is to use a dehydrator, another is to bake them, at a very low temperature, in the oven. They can also be put into a paper bag... this helps to save any seeds that may fall off as they dry....... or my favorite method is to hang them in the house. I love the way the bundles look while hanging and the scent given off is pleasant and gives us the benefit of the herb even while it is drying.
The bundles shouldn't be too large... they need to dry rather quickly and bundles that are too large can allow some mold to grow... which would ruin the whole bundle.
Our house tends to be a bit dry, but if you dry herbs in the house, you will want to be careful not to hang them where there will be steam or too much moisture.
After they are bundled, I hang them around the house.... they will be up for several days or a couple of weeks. By then, they will be fully dry and can be put into containers to preserve them. I use tins or glass jars.
Yes, there are some over the mirror, some below a shelf on pegs, there are nails or holders in other rooms, and here they are just hooked to a shelf. There is sunlight that gets on this one, which is not ideal, but they won't be here too long.
Sunlight can fade the color and the nutrients from dried herbs, so they should always be stored in closed containers. I love the look of glass jars pf herbs displayed openly in a room, but that damages the herbs... shortens their life, so I keep them in the dark... either in a tin, which blocks light or in glass containers which are kept inside my herb cabinet. Yes, I had to have a cabinet devoted to storing herbs... it is not huge, but it is so helpful to have them all (well, mostly all) in one place.
Thank you for visiting today.... I hope you have had a good harvest of your herbs, if you have any. If not, they are not hard to grow and maybe another year you would enjoy trying some. I still have others to harvest. I also hope to dig up a couple of the plants that are not hardy here, meaning they won't last the winter outside. I want to bring them inside for the winter.... if I can remember which ones they are... :) I hope you have a wonderful week.
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