Over the years, I have devised a simple ‘method’ for the tedious task of garbling my farm-raised lavender. GARBLING is the term used for picking the flowers and leaves from the stems of plants, in order to store them properly for later use.
First, pick the lavender after the morning dew has burned off – hopefully NOT in +90 degree F extreme heat/weather!
Pick lavender when the buds begin to swell and perhaps with one or two visible flowers. Remember, when you pick the ‘flowers’, it’s similar to dead-heading: you’ll encourage new blooms and perhaps another smaller lavender crop in fall.
Next, I have been using found and recycled old door/window screens, ensuring good air-circulation, to air-dry my lavender. But, you may also hang-dry small bundles of lavender secured with rubber bands. Don’t make the bundles too large – or the lavender may mold! Use rubber bands to secure because ‘dried’ herbs shrink and you’ll be picking it up off the floor! Dry in a shaded area, out of direct sunlight and somewhere with good air circulation – run a small fan if necessary to bolster air-flow.
Once the lavender is DRIED ( for long-term storage/use ), I assemble, rather stack, three frames of ‘hardware cloth’ over an old bed sheet or storage container.
Neatly arranged lavender makes ‘garbling’ more manageable!
To begin, grab a handful of lavender, stems and buds all aligned in same direction. Gently rub, knead bundle over wire mesh, keeping stems perpendicular to screen. The buds should fall through the screens while the stems remain. Errant stems will be ‘caught’ by one of the screens to be discarded… at least, in theory!
…and the final product, lavender buds.
Stems may be discarded or bundled and used for fragrant fire-starters ( also known as faggots ).
How do YOU ‘garble’ your herbs???