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 harvest our 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 olive oil.
WHEN TO HARVEST
HARVESTING YOUR LAVENDER
Clutch your sickle 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. As you harvest, consider leaving some uncut lavender for the buzzing 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!
BUNDLING THE BUDS
Tools needed: the bundle of lavender and rubber bands.
Take each tidy handful of lavender stems and secure them with several 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, use more than one rubber band on each bunch - if one breaks during drying,
HANGING AND DRYING
Tools needed: twine and a wall.
Once you have your bundles ready, thread your twine through the rubber band, creating a knot. Our founder, Dr. Sarah Villafranco, still prefers to use medical knots she used 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 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 10-14 days to ensure they are completely dry.
REMOVING THE DRIED FLOWERS
Enter the greatest trick of all time - all you need is a clean pillowcase and a clean container for your buds! Take a bundle of dried lavender and put it in the pillowcase so that it's lying in the bottom, parallel to the short end of the pillowcase. Gently fold the pillowcase over the bunch 2-3 times, and then begin softly rolling the bunch in the fabric. Don't push hard like you're kneading bread - you'll break the stems. You're trying to remove the delicate flowers from the dried stems, so that you're left with just buds in the bag. Empty the buds into the container, set the stems aside for trash or compost, and repeat for all your bunches, one at a time. It takes a little time but nowhere near the time it takes to do the process completely by hand. It truly feels like a magic trick - so satisfying!!
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.
Need a great all-purpose healing balm?
Combine ingredients in a small, heatproof measuring cup.
OSMIA'S ODE TO LAVENDER
We love this fragrant flower and hope you'll trying growing and harvesting your own one day. In the meantime, learn more about the magic of lavender in skincare, relieving anxiety, and taking the sting out of a bug bite.
(Not just the lavender goodies!)
With love and lush lavender fields from us to you,