I harvest flowers when they come in bloom and continue through their flowering period. I find the best time for picking is before 11:00 a.m. It is before the plant becomes too hot from the sun’s heat and when the plant is most vibrant.
Once harvested the flowers are rinsed and laid out to dry on a screen or brown paper inside by a sunny window. Depending on the summer heat they are usually dry in 5 to 10 days. Calendula, Dandelion, Hollyhock, Lavender and Roses are the only flowers that I have pull the petals off from the eye of the flower or stem. The reason is that these are used in soap-making, bath balms, teas and recipes.
To store them I begin with a container minus the lid and continue to leave them close to the sun’s heat to make sure there is no moisture. The reason for this is that plant material can mold easily. I also use brown paper lunch bags and leave the top open for the same reason – no moisture. My preference is to use glass or brown paper and to not use plastic.
The leaves are ready to pick as soon as they begin to emerge! The best time is before the plant buds and flowers. After the plant flowers, look for leaves that newer as the older ones look less appealing.
After rinsing I lay the leaves out on a screen or on brown paper in a sunny window. The leaves are turned every couple of days until they are dry and crunchy. I prefer to lay the leaves out to dry versus hanging them as when I turn them I can observe the changes in the drying process.
The leaves are stored in brown paper bag where the top is left open for some time to make sure all material is dry.
The roots are best harvested in the fall after the flowering season has finished. However, when I weed or downsize an over zealous plant I do harvest the ones that I use as a resource.
The roots dry hard and rigid. These I do hang outside to begin with to let the soil dry and fall off more easily. After a few days I then scrub them with a brush to take the remaining clumps of soil off.
These are then stored in a small untreated cardboard box, brown paper bag or glass jar.
This process is the same for all the plants I dry during the summer. However in September I do dry them outside as this is the time that we get earwigs! I urge everyone to take the effort and go beyond inconveniences to begin exploring with common plants in your landscape to gain a fuller appreciation of slowing down and noticing what’s around you. There are so many nutrients missing in our day-to-day store-bought diets that can be supplemented by our own natural environment. It can replace manufactured supplements and chemicals that your body may resist absorbing. By handling the plant your touch is already beginning to prepare your body for absorbing it. After all your skin is a sense and the starting point for taking in information to begin its journey inside your body!
This site may contain Affiliate Links for your convenience, thank you in advance for your support! Renee
- Healing Teas – How to Prepare and Use Teas to Maximize Your Health by Author Marie Nadi
Traditional uses and properties of herbs are for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. Any serious health concerns or if you are pregnant, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering herbs.