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Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Lavender just harvested from my garden about two months ago.
It is past the time when my lavender was harvested, but since I was away this summer and am getting a late start to it, I thought I should talk a little about the process and what I am doing with it all.
Lavendula x intermedia is a provencal lavender with tall green stems and short to medium long flower bundles. They are exquisite when they bloom and stay that way for weeks. This year I was away for most of the summer and I let them go until they had lost some of their color. This was a happy coincidence for my bees that allowed them to have a long pollen collecting season.
When I harvest them, I take the bottom of the stalk in a bundled group of a few stalks, then using my falco's I trim them, collect them, trim them, and collect them, repeating until I have enough for a handful round. Then I tie with a twist tie or wrap with a rubberband. I like the rubberband, but it is a little more time consuming upfront. Later, when the lavender dries, the rubberband contracts with it, so you don't have to go back and re-tie, like with a twist tie. After they are completely dried, about three days to five days later, I go back and thresh them. This process requires a ventilated area, rubbing the flowers off of the stems in between both hands. This gets all the buds off and they just fall off quite easily. I then clip the empty flowered end to even out the lavender into an even kind of bundle. This bundle can be burned in your fireplace as a starter, or even in a grill to nicely season pork loin or chicken. Or just use it in a pretty basket in your bathroom.
I then take the loose lavender and pick it up and toss it in a colander to get all the big pieces out of it before putting it into different size linen sachets. It is amazing how long these last. I have some from a couple years ago and when I scrunch it up, it still exudes its lovely scents.
Here are what the sachets look like and the bundles for burning. Let me know if I can send you any.
Sachets and bundles are $5.00 each. Please email me and I will give you more details.
Here are some recipes for what to do with dried lavender.
A row of lavender with our Redwoods to the right,
and our industrial barn in the background.
1/2 cup good fresh lavender,
1 cup loose peppermint leaves
1 cup loose camomille flowers
Or experiment to see what flavor you like more upfront.
Combine and mix with your hands until completely melded.
Using just two teaspoons of your tea mixture put into a tea strainer or a tea pot and pour boiling water over the dried herbs and flowers. Steep for up to three minutes and drink. Add honey if desired.
Honey Lavender Lemonade
2 cups water (see below)
1/2 cup or to taste, of lavender tea *
1/4- 1/2 cup honey to taste
Using the steeping method, pour boiling water over the lavender and strain the flowers from the water with a fine seive or cheesecloth . The lavender water will be flavorful, when added to lemonade, it adds a lovely light and refreshing flavor. Makes enough for 4 cups of Honey Lavender Lemonade.