Land of lavender
Stripes Europe September 13, 2023
As summer comes to an end, so does lavender season. Lavender grows abundantly in Germany, often right in your yard. It is native to European mountainous zones and attracts many types of pollinators. Bumblebees in particular love lavender. So much so, that you can catch them sleeping on it during cool dewy mornings. There are many things lavender can be used for: calming tea, salves, syrup, sugar, candles and beauty products, just to name a few. Here are four easy things to do with your harvest each year. Just be sure to leave some flowers for the local bumblebees.
Tips for Harvesting
• Harvest early in the season when the flowers first start to bloom for a light and mild scent, and harvest towards the end of the season for a strong, bold fragrance.
• Harvest earlier in the morning when it is still cool. The oil in the flowers will be more aromatic.
• Using sharp sheers or scissors, cut the stems about two inches from the woody part of the plant. This will ensure more growth and blooms. Cutting at a 45-degree angle will also help the plant drain water and prevent diseases and mold.
Four easy things to make with the lavender growing in your yard
The first and most simple way to use lavender is to make sachets. The end of the season before fall is the perfect time to harvest lavender for this, as it is at its most fragrant. You can use these in clothes drawers or hang them in your car.
Step One: Dry out your lavender. Follow the harvesting guide above, then tie up to 50 stems of lavender together with twine or a rubber band. Hang it upside down in a dry, cool place away from the sun. This helps retain fragrance.
Step Two: Once the buds feel dry and crisp to the touch (anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks) you can shed the flowers from the stem and fill your sachet bags.
You can make your own with a thin fabric or buy them in bulk on Amazon. These last about six months. If you want to spread your lavender out further, fill the sachets halfway with rice. Massaging the buds with your fingers can activate the oils in the flowers and helps create a stronger smell.
Lavender Sugar Recipe
Another easy and beautiful use is to infuse sugar with lavender. The flowers are edible and, mixed with sugar, they look beautiful on top of muffins, scones and tea cookies.
1 tablespoon dried lavender
2 cups granulated sugar
Step one: In a food processor add the dried lavender and blend it for 10-15 seconds.
Step Two: Add in one cup of the granulated sugar and blend with the lavender for 20 seconds. This infuses the sugar with the lavender oil.
Step Three: In a separate bowl, gently whisk or mix the rest of the sugar into the mixture.
Step four: Pour into a mason jar or smaller glass bottles for gifts.
Tip: Save a few un-chopped lavender buds and mix them into the sugar at the end for a prettier infusion. Or sprinkle the top with larger pieces of the lavender as a pretty garnish.
Lavender Simple Syrup Recipe
Next is a simple syrup infused with lavender. This is sweet, aromatic and has floral-tasting notes that can elevate lattes, tea, cocktails and lemonade. It is especially nice for winding down in the evenings since lavender has calming properties.
2 tablespoons dried lavender
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
*For a sweeter syrup add 1-2 tablespoons of honey
Step One: In a small saucepan stir all ingredients on medium-low heat until well combined and the sugar is completely dissolved, 2-5 minutes.
Step Two: Turn the heat to the lowest setting, cover the pot with a lid, and let the syrup sit for 10-15 minutes.
Step Three: Let the syrup cool, then strain the syrup with a mesh strainer into an airtight jar or bottle.
Tip: To make the syrup purple, add a few drops of violet food coloring.
Storing: Keep the syrup in an airtight jar or bottle in the refrigerator for 2-4 weeks.
Lavender Salt Scrub
A simple addition to a self-care day is a salt scrub. It is so easy to make, great for exfoliation and the lavender creates the bonus of aroma therapy.
1 cup Epsom salt
3 tablespoons dried lavender
¼ cup coconut oil, or jojoba oil, or olive oil
Step One: Chop or blend dried lavender in a food processor.
Step Two: Stir all ingredients together until oil and lavender are evenly mixed into the salt. It should be a light and fluffy mixture.
Step Three: Transfer to a jar with a sealable lid.
Lavender has many uses. Don’t be afraid to use it, enjoy it and gift it.