Wednesday, November 7, 2018

How We Dry Lavender and Its Uses

Fall is a busy season at the farm.  The final harvest for lavender essential oil occurs in September and October and the distillery is in operation daily.  In all this activity, it's easy to overlook the quiet processes that have been in progress for weeks elsewhere on the farm.  THE DRYING OF LAVENDER.

Immediately after our annual Lavender Festival, we harvest lavender for drying.  Over the course of several weeks thousands of bundles of hand-harvested lavender fill our drying barn and various other buildings around the farm.  Darkness and good air circulation are the keys to successfully drying lavender.  We keep racks and racks of drying bundles out of sunlight to help preserve their color and regularly rotate enormous fans around the lavender to ensure consistent drying.  The weather plays it's own part in the speed at which the lavender dries as well.  Typically drying takes 4-6 weeks.  Cool, wet weather can delay drying, while hot, windy weather will speed up the process.

Drying lavender from our certified organic fields on San Juan Island, WA

Throughout the following year until the next harvesting season we will use the dried lavender bundles to handcraft various products — the most obvious being dried lavender bouquets and lavender sachets.

Our Organic Lavender Sachets (all of our lavender is certified organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture) are a wonderful way to experience the fragrance of blooming fields of lavender wherever you areUse to fragrance drawers and closets, as well as to repel moths (great for knitters) and other insects.  Sachets are also a wonderful way to relieve stress at work - keep one on your desk!

Organic Lavender Sachet

Tip:  Once you sense the fragrance starting to dissipate, squeeze the sachet several times to release more essential oil and recharge the fragrance.  Depending on frequency, one can do this for as much as a year and sometimes much longer!

To create Organic Lavender Sachets, we remove the flower buds from the lavender stalks.  The bare stocks might otherwise be sent to the compost pile, but that would be missing out on two wonderful ways to incorporate lavender into daily life.  These Organic Lavender Stalks are a long-time traditional and completely natural means of improving the fragrance of a room or the flavor of grilled dishes.

To fragrance a room, soak the stalks in water for a couple of hours and then throw them on an open fire to enjoy the aroma of lavender wafting through the air.

To bring flavor of lavender to the grill, soak the stalks in water for a couple of hours and then throw on the coals immediately before placing fish, meat or vegetables on your BBQ grill.  The stalks also work very well as skewers for grilling seafood, especially scallops.

Organic Lavender Stalks

Another application (and one original to Pelindaba) is the use of the bare lavender stalks as fire starters.  Excellent for use in a fireplace or wood stove or outdoor fire pit, our Lavender Fire Starters are dipped in layers of left-over soy wax from our candle production, with wick in each for convenient lighting once your firewood and kindling are set.  We aim to minimize waste wherever possible.

One important note for drying lavender...  We secure each bundle with a rubber band.  This is important because the lavender stalks will shrink during drying.  If one uses twine or something similar the bundles will start to fall apart during drying.  A rubber band, however, tightens as the stalks shrink, keeping the bundles intact and easier to handle.

For drying at home remember these three tips...
1. Dry in darkness or out of direct sunlight to help preserve color
2. Keep lavender well ventilated
3. Secure bundles with rubber bands


  1. Thank you so much for this wonderfully informative email about lavender, I learned alot of new ways to use all the parts of the plant not just the bud. I love your products and the new store you just opened in Ashland Oregon is such a welcome delight for the community. I wish you lots of success and i will be a customer for life.

    1. Thank you very much! We are pleased this information is helpful to you. We look forward to seeing you again soon in our Ashland product gallery. Cheers!