Air-drying is the best way to dehydrate lavender and retain the best flavor, color, and aroma. The lavender dries in 1-4 weeks this way. For faster drying, use an oven to dry lavender in 10-20 minutes at the lowest temperature or a food dehydrator to dry it in 2-3 hours.
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How to Dry Lavender Naturally
The best way to dry lavender naturally is to hang it in the air for 1-4 weeks, away from direct sunlight, which causes the herb to lose its essential oils.
Here’s how to dry lavender in the air to retain the best color and flavor:
- Gather the lavender into bunches of 10-15 stems. Small bunches dry faster and more evenly and are less prone to mildew and mold growth.
- Line up the stems so that the ends are at the same level. Use sharp scissors to snip excessively long stems.
- Use a rubber band or twine to tie the bunches of lavender near the base of the stems. Make a secure knot but keep each bundle loosely packed for good air circulation between the sprigs.
- Hang the lavender bunches upside down in a dry, warm, dark area shielded from direct sunlight and home air conditioning systems.
- Place a small kitchen towel below each bunch to catch any lavender leaves or flower buds that may fall during drying.
- Monitor the lavender for dryness, molding, and mildew growth every few days.
- Let the herb dry in the air for 1-4 weeks, depending on the humidity level and the variety and size of the lavender bundles.
- You’ll know the lavender is dry when the leaves and flowers fall off the stems easily when you touch them.
- Once fully dried, unhang the lavender and store it in clean, dry, airtight containers. Store it as whole lavender sprigs or brush the leaves and flowers off the stems. Save the stems for culinary and aromatherapy benefits.
How do You Dry Lavender Quickly?
Do you need your dried lavender urgently? Using an oven will dry lavender quickly, but you must take care not to burn it. Here’s how to get it right:
- Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature setting, preferably no more than 200°F.
- Spread the lavender leaves, sprigs, or flowers in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Minimal overlaps are okay. Do not wash the lavender.
- Place the loaded baking sheet in the oven and dry the herb at the lowest setting for 10-15 minutes.
- Leave the oven door slightly open for aeration and better moisture removal.
- Check for dryness after 10 minutes. If the herb feels moist, continue dehydrating in increments of 5 minutes.
- Once the lavender dries to brittleness, cool it outside the oven and store it whole in airtight containers. Alternatively, gently run your fingers down the stalks and drop the leaves and blossoms into the storage containers.
- Label the containers with the date of drying and the type of lavender before placing them in a cool, dark, dry place. Monitor the herb for the first 3-7 days for condensation in the container before committing it to long-term storage.
How to Dry Fresh Lavender in a Food Dehydrator
Using a food dehydrator is faster than air-drying lavender, with the added advantage of a lower risk of burning the herb.
- Spread the lavender stems, blossoms, or leaves in a single layer on food dehydrator trays.
- Line the bottom drying rack of the dehydrator with a dehydrator screen to catch any falling lavender leaves during drying.
- Load the dehydrator and dehydrate the lavender at the lowest temperature setting, preferably no more than 100-105°F. Use the herb setting if your dehydrator has it.
- Dehydrate the lavender for 2-3 hours, monitoring the drying process every hour.
- Once the herb dries fully, cool it outside the dehydrator and transfer it to airtight containers. Monitor it for condensation in the first 3-7 days before putting it in long-term storage in a cool, dark place.
What Part of Lavender Do You Dry?
You can dry most parts of lavender, including the leaves, buds or flowers, and even the stems. The roots of the plant aren’t typically dried or used.
Tips for Making Sure Dried Lavender Smells Good
As a delicate herb, lavender loses some of its fragrance because of the disintegration of essential oils during drying and storage. Follow the tips below to retain the scent of lavender better:
- Do not wash the lavender before drying. Lavender plants are usually dirt and bug-free.
- Dry fresh lavender shortly after harvesting it from your garden. Cut lavender early in the morning once the night dew drops.
- If cooking with lavender, dry the types of lavender best suited for culinary purposes, including English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) or Portuguese Lavender (Lavandula latifolia).
- If purchasing lavender from a store, seek out the most fragrant lavender you can find with supple stems and tight buds.
- Store dried lavender buds and leaves whole rather than crushed. Crushed herbs lose their fragrance faster because the cells containing essential oils are exposed to the air.
- When air-drying, keep lavender away from direct sunlight; heat causes lavender essential oils to disintegrate faster.
What Can You Do With Dried Lavender?
Lavender flowers and leaves are soft, making them ideal for culinary purposes. Depending on the variety and time of harvesting lavender plants, the stems may be soft or woody. Dry the ones with soft stems for cooking, or use lavender in the following ways:
- Dried lavender bunches make beautiful hanging wreaths and bouquets.
- Keep bugs out of your wardrobe by placing sachets of dry lavender buds inside.
- Use woody lavender stems as scented fire starters.
- You can chop up dried woody lavender stems and make potpourri.
What is the Best Method for Storing Lavender?
Like most other delicate herbs, lavender is best stored in airtight glass containers at room temperature in a cool, dry, dark place. Clear glass containers provide visual appeal while also making it easy for you to monitor the condition of the dried herb inside.