Lavender is a beautiful plant known for its calming and relaxing properties. From essential oils to teas, many people enjoy the benefits of this plant in their daily lives. Among the various ways of using lavender, making a cup of lavender tea is a classic method that has been around for centuries. In this article, we’ll explore how you can harvest lavender and create a soothing cup of tea that will help you unwind after a long day.
Choosing the Right Variety of Lavender
Before you begin harvesting lavender, it’s vital to pick the right variety of lavender for tea making. While all lavender plants have fragrant flowers, not all species are suitable for tea making. Provence, Hidcote, and Munstead are some of the most popular types of lavender used for making tea. These varieties are not only fragrant but also have low camphor content, which gives the tea a slightly bitter taste.
When to Harvest Lavender
Knowing when to harvest lavender is crucial to get the most out of your plant. Harvesting lavender at the right time will give you more aromatic flowers with better taste, color, and flavor. For tea making, the best time to harvest lavender is when the buds are about to open or have just opened. This is typically in mid to late summer, depending on your climate and growing conditions.
How to Identify When Lavender is Ready to Harvest
To know if your lavender is ready for harvest, observe the flower buds closely. When the buds feel hard to the touch, it means they have not yet reached full maturity. Wait for a few days and check again. When the buds are plump and start showing some color, they are ready to be harvested. You can also observe the color of the stems; when they turn brown, harvesting time is over.
How to Harvest Lavender
Lavender is a delicate plant that requires gentle handling during harvest. Follow these steps:
- Use sharp pruning shears or scissors to cut the lavender stems when they are dry, ideally just after the morning dew has evaporated.
- Cut the stems with flowers intact, leaving around six inches of the stem below the bloom.
- Don’t overcrowd the harvested lavender stems, as this can lead to spoilage and mold growth. Place them loosely in a basket or tray, avoiding any sharp bends or creases.
- Avoid harvesting more than one-third of the plant in a single season, as this can damage the plant and hurt the coming year’s growth.
How to Dry Lavender Flowers
The next step in making lavender tea is to dry the flowers. Here’s how:
- Get rid of insects, dirt, and dust by gently shaking the stems or using a soft brush to remove anything that is clinging to the flowers.
- To dry the flowers, hang the lavender bunches upside down in a warm, dry, and well-ventilated area. The drying process will take two to three weeks, depending on the humidity.
- As the flowers dry, their color will change from a brilliant purple to a soft grayish hue.
- Once the flowers are dry, carefully strip them off the stem with your fingertips, a fork, or a comb.
- Store the dried flowers in a cool, dry, and airtight container away from sunlight and moisture.
Making Lavender Tea
Now that you have a jar of your own dried lavender flowers, making lavender tea is a breeze. Follow these simple steps:
- Place one teaspoon of dried lavender flowers in a strainer or tea infuser, and put it in a teapot or a mug.
- Boil fresh water and pour over the flowers in the teapot or the mug.
- Let the tea steep for four to five minutes or until the desired strength is achieved.
- Remove the strainer or the infuser and enjoy your calming and delicious lavender tea.
The Bottom Line
Harvesting your lavender and making a cup of lavender tea is a relaxing and rewarding activity that can help you unwind and destress. Remember to choose the right variety of lavender, harvest at the right time, and dry the flowers correctly to get the best results. Enjoy the soothing aroma and delicious taste of lavender tea!
FAQs about How to Harvest Lavender for Tea
1. How do I know if my lavender is suitable for making tea?
Not all lavender plants are suitable for tea making. The best varieties for tea making are Provence, Hidcote, and Munstead. These varieties have low camphor content, which gives the tea a slightly bitter taste.
2. What is the best time to harvest lavender for tea?
The best time to harvest lavender for tea is when the buds are about to open or have just opened. This is typically in mid to late summer.
3. How should I dry lavender flowers for tea making?
To dry lavender flowers, hang the lavender bunches upside down in a warm, dry, and well-ventilated area. The drying process will take two to three weeks, depending on the humidity. Once the flowers are dry, carefully strip them off the stem with your fingertips, a fork, or a comb.
4. How do I store dried lavender flowers for tea?
Store the dried flowers in a cool, dry, and airtight container away from sunlight and moisture.
5. How much lavender should I use for making tea?
For making a cup of lavender tea, one teaspoon of dried lavender flowers is sufficient. Adjust the amount according to your taste preference.
6. Can I use fresh lavender flowers for making tea?
It’s best to use dried lavender flowers for making tea, as fresh flowers can have excess moisture, which can affect the quality and taste of the tea.
7. Can I mix lavender with other herbs for making tea?
Yes, you can mix lavender with other herbs like chamomile, mint, and lemon balm to create your own unique and flavorful tea.
1. The Herb Society; Lavender Tea; https://www.herbsociety.org/learn/herb-of-the-month/lavender/
2. Healthline; Lavender tea: Benefits and how to make it; https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/lavender-tea
3. Gardening Know How; Harvesting Lavender: How And When To Harvest Lavender; https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/lavender/harvesting-lavender.htm