drying lavender - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 06-06-2003, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How do you dry lavender? and do you use the leaves and/or
the flowers? I know the leaves are the fragarent part but
the flowers are the colorful part. Do you use both?

Can I do other herbs the same way?

please don't think these are stupic Q's...i'm a newbie
in the herb department.
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#2 of 12 Old 06-06-2003, 10:16 PM
 
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I tie my lavender off with a twist tie just below the blossoms and then pop them into a brown lunch bag. After they are dry I pull off the blossoms, leaves & cut up all the stems (they are fragrant too) and use them as needed for scenting rice socks or bean bags, or dream pillows. If you are drying more leafy herbs you can lay them out on flat baskets out of the sun. I like to dry my herbs in baskets on top of the fridge because it is out of the light and a warm, dry spot. You can also dry lavender in baskets if its a very tight weave, so the blossoms don't all fall through. Sometimes i have so much lavender that i just fill vases with them fresh with no water & just let them dry like that. I am in a very arrid climate & haven't had any trouble with mold. Most herbs can be tied & hung to dry in a place out of the sun. I don't just tie & hang the lavender because the blossoms do fall off very easily once dry and I like to catch them all in bag or basket. Good luck herbing! Let me know if you have any more ??'s! I LOVE to 'talk herbs'! Laura
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#3 of 12 Old 06-07-2003, 03:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you so much!!!!!!!!

Why not dry in the sun????
What is a rice sock?
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#4 of 12 Old 06-07-2003, 04:11 AM
 
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The rational behind not drying herbs in the sun is the slower you dry them the more scent, flavor & nutrients are preserved in the herbs.
A rice sock is a quick heating pad/cold compress that can be made from a sock or the pant leg of some old jeans,(basically a rectangular tube of cotton fabric), or in a pinch a sock (except the socks' loose weave can sometimes have rice popping out!) depending on the size you want. I make a mixture of pasta, rice & lavender and fill the 'sock.' Then it can be heated in the microwave or dry crock pot & used as a heating pad or frozen to use as cold compress. Very nice for labor or winter mornings. You can get fancy and make contour 'rice socks' that fit the nape of your neck. I also make 'bean bag' ones that I freeze & can be used on bumps & bruises & is much more comfy than ice. Just be sure & freeze in a ziplock bag. The 'bean bag' ones I make I have a few that I use as heating pads in the cold winter mornings, I tuck 2 heated rice bags in my bra for my morning walk cause if i get too cold in there I just aches. I have one that I heat & use in the front of my underwear too for menstrual cramps. I have also made little stuffed animal froggy ones that are nice to heat for little ones to take to bed & snuggle on cold winter nights. I've even seen a pattern to make slippers that have rice soles that can be heated before wearing!
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#5 of 12 Old 06-07-2003, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OH wow.....those sound awesome!
Now you have me wanting to get snuggly with one!
Thanks so much for your help on this. I'm off today to cut some
of my lavender and attempt to dry them and create something
magical!
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#6 of 12 Old 06-09-2003, 02:08 AM
 
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I've dried herbs in both So. Cal and the Pacific Northwest. It takes longer if it's wet, but the easiest thing is to just tie 'em up and hang 'em. A cool, dark, dry place is optimum for retaining scent and flavor. A homemade dehydrator shelf is easy too and solves the litter-while-drying problem. Take an old frame and stretch mesh ( or pantyhose if you have any) over it. Then just lie the herbs on it.

Lavendar flowers are a good cooking spice for everything from cookies to eggs and poultry (especially in an herbs de provence blend [rosemary, lavendar, and I'd have to look up the rest]) If you're gonna eat it though, make sure it's organic! Homemade lavendar ice cream is amazing. Just don't use much lavendar or it starts to tast like soap.
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#7 of 12 Old 06-09-2003, 11:58 AM
 
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If anyone has beautiful dried herbs - particularly lavender flowers - I'd LOVE to have some for our head garlands at the wedding. I have to make one for each of the girls (3) and can't find it locally (and sadly, my lavender is dying)
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#8 of 12 Old 06-09-2003, 08:19 PM
 
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When is the wedding and how much sooner do you want the herbs? I'm getting a late crop this year, for several reasons, but should have some traditional lavender colored lavender as well as some pink and, if all goes well, some yellow. My mom has about 15 different plants, all well established, that I could pick and send, but no pink or yellow. Just Spanish, French and some others that I don't know the variety of. I've got lemon verbena too, as well as the standard kitchen garden stuff (I love oregano flowers!)
If the timing's right, I'll send whatever you want, just let me know how much and what types you like.
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#9 of 12 Old 06-09-2003, 09:12 PM
 
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WOW!! You have a TON!!! That would be simply gorgeous!!!

I'd love a big bunch of all the lavenders. I never realized they came in different colors!!

The wedding isn't until December, so we've got PLENTY of time! :LOL
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#10 of 12 Old 06-10-2003, 01:19 AM
 
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No problem!
PM me with an address and I'll send batches as they come on. I just noticed this afternoon that my backyard lavender is starting to flower.
Congratulations on your engagement. I'm a wedding photographer (among other things!) and absolutely love weddings of all kinds. It's one of the coolest jobs I know to be there for such an amazing celebration.
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#11 of 12 Old 06-12-2003, 01:21 AM
 
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Good Q! I just bought a lavender plant last night!
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#12 of 12 Old 06-12-2003, 11:31 AM
 
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Here's another question...if I make a head wreath (or four) out of lavender...

Should I assemble it while the flowers are still alive, then dry it as a wreath? I assume the flowers will be awfully brittle and difficult to manipulate once dried.

Also, how can I prevent it from falling apart while I'm wearing it?

Thanks!
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