Harvesting & Drying Flowers & Herbs
Nothing beats the joy of growing plants to use for your very own ingredients. If you have read a few of my blog posts, you will see that I use herbs all the time as they can be used in various ways for cooking, botanical beauty products and treatments, herbal teas, macerated oils and many other wonderful delights!
For this month’s post, I wanted to share with you tips of how to dry your own plant material, to include in your DIY recipes.
+Bountiful supply of pesticide free plant material, including fresh flowers and herbs.
+Clean art painting canvas - purchase $2 shop
+ Muslin cloth
+Labels + Pen
+Plastic bands/ Rope/ String
+ A dry and early morning is the best time of day to pick flowers, herbs and foliage before the sun has robbed plant material of their essential oils.
TIP - Make sure it’s not too early- wait until the dew has evaporated
+Shake and check plant material for insects.
+ If you’re keen to rinse plant material before drying, this is totally up to you. I have heard that if your plant material isn’t completely dry, you could end up with mouldy plant material and you don’t want that! Another option is to use a water spray bottle and mist your plant material. To dry, dab with paper towel to absorb water droplets. Personally, I don’t rinse my plant material for my own personal use as it’s home grown and has not been sprayed with toxic chemicals or handled by anyone else but me. Play and experiment and see what works best for you.
+Flowering heads such as calendula and cornflower; I clip the flowering tops to remove the stem. Roses, I remove the petals from flowering tops.
+In a single layer, place flower heads or petals either between tissue paper or I like to use the wooden frame from my art canvas (remove canvas and your left with a wonderful frame).
+Place muslin material over the top of canvas and stretch material. With a staple gun in hand, secure material to the wooden parts, or just leave if you don’t have a gun handy, but make sure the material is in place and supports the flowering tops. Stack frames on top of each other and for the final top layer place another layer of muslin/ or muslin frame over the top of plant material.
TIP -You can purchase small drying machines online if you decide to make larger quantities.
+Another option for herbs like Lavender, Rosemary and Sage are great to gather and tie into a small bundle for drying. Tie a thin rope around the bottom stems and secure, so when you hang them upside down to dry they won't fall apart.
+Store dry plant material in a ventilated area, and somewhere dark or away from direct sunlight and dust. Store in a cupboard, or bedroom closet.
+Check drying plant material from time to time and turn occasionally. Trust your own judgment in regards to when the material is ready.
+Store in airtight glass jars, label and date and keep out of direct sunlight. Keep for a one-year.