There’s not much in this world that can top the beauty of a lavender field. At Osmia, we praise this fantastic purple plant, and we harvest our founder's crop annually for use in some of our products. Join us as we explore a day in the life of a beautiful lavender bud, and watch the journey from plant to harvest to luxuriously infused oil.
WHEN TO HARVEST LAVENDER
HOW TO HARVEST LAVENDER
Grab your sickle carefully, and head out to your garden. Lavender is a sturdy plant, so grab a bundle, and use your sickle to cut it, leaving a few inches of stem at the bottom. Be extremely careful that your fingers and thumb are completely out of the way as you make a swift cut with the sickle. If the stems are not densely packed (some varietals are more dense than others), you can gently twist the bunch before you cut, creating a tighter group of stems which will make it easier to cut. As you harvest, consider leaving some uncut lavender for the bees to enjoy. Once you have a nice, fat handful of purple flowers, use the flat side of the sickle to tap the cut ends so they are all even, and prepare to bundle! If you're cutting from potted plants, a pair of good scissors is a better tool.
HOW TO BUNDLE LAVENDER
Tools needed: the bundle of lavender and rubber bands.
Take each tidy handful of lavender stems and secure them with two or three rubber bands immediately after cutting them. The stems will lose water, and therefore volume, as they dry, so a rubber band is better than a string—it will contract with the drying stems. Also, be sure to use more than one rubber band on each bunch, so that if one breaks during drying, you've got a backup system in place.
HOW TO HANG AND DRY LAVENDER
Tools needed: twine and a wall or rafters.
Once you have your bundles ready, thread your twine through the rubber band, creating a knot. Our founder, Dr. Sarah Villafranco, still uses the medical knots she tied while stitching her patients in the ER! No need to get that technical, just a sturdy knot will do the trick. Her favorite way to secure them is by tying a bundle on each end of a piece of twine, then hanging the twine on a hook or a nail, like fish on a fishing line. The bundles should always hang flowers-down, so the essential oil of the plants can concentrate in the buds as they dry. The bundles should hang in a cool, protected place for a minumum of 10-14 days to ensure they are completely dry.
HOW TO REMOVE DRIED LAVENDER FLOWERS FROM THE STEM
This is so simple, and so effective! All you need is a pair of clean rubber gloves and a clean bucket. We prefer to use a sanitized bucket that has been sprayed with alcohol and allowed to dry, but that's because our lavender is going into your skincare products!
Holding a bunch of dried lavender flowers with the buds facing down into the bucket, and a few inches below the rim, gently roll the bunch back and forth between your hands, allowing the flowers to fall into the bucket. Keep rolling gently until you have only stems left in your hand. When you're done with all the bunches, you can remove the rubber bands and compost the stems if you have composting available where you are.
HOW TO INFUSE LAVENDER INTO OIL
First, pick the oil you'd like to infuse. For lip balms, we love organic olive or castor oil. For body oils, try jojoba or sunflower oil. In a clean, dry jar, add one tablespoon of lavender buds per cup of oil, secure the lid tightly, and place in the container somewhere you'll remember to shake it at least once a day. Allow the oil to infuse for three weeks, then strain through cheesecloth to remove the flowers.
DIY LAVENDER HEALING BALM RECIPE
Combine ingredients in a small, heatproof measuring cup.