Friday, July 18, 2014

Drying Lavender

I've got 2 lavender plants out front, and until now have never picked any of the flowers. But this year I decided to harvest some and dry the flowers because I saw an interesting recipe for Lavender Jelly.

The instructions for drying lavender are pretty simple: tie the flower stems into bunches, then hang in a warm, dry, airy, dark place. Unfortunately, finding that combination of characteristics in our house isn't that simple.

The kitchen is warm and airy and, away from the sink, dry, but it isn't dark. And the inside of a cupboard is dark, but not airy. The cellar is dark, but in the summer it's damp, cool and with little air circulation. So I came up with a compromise.

I hung the lavender bunches on a hook hanging from a shelf at the far side of the kitchen, away from the sun. To make it dark, I covered the hook with a large colander. Now it's dark, AND the air can circulate through the flowers!

I already tried it with one batch, and it worked fine:

That's 1/4 cup of flowers, about the same amount that the bunch I'm hanging now will produce. It takes about 2-3 weeks to thoroughly dry the flowers. When I have my full 1/2 cup, I'll try the recipe.