Lavender is a great addition to some dishes and may be used fresh or dried. If you decide to dry it to make it last longer, you will need to use the right methods to ensure that the finished product is usable. Here are some suggestions on how to dry lavender for the best flavor.
Hang to air-dry
The first step will be to wash the lavender and dry off the surface moisture. Next, tie the stems together in bundles using twine or rubber bands. Line the stems up with the flowers on one side when constructing your bundles.
Keep your bundles small to ensure that the plant can dry out efficiently. An overly large lavender bundle may not dry out well. Rubber bands are useful because the lavender stems will shrink as they lose moisture and the rubber bands will tighten up to keep the bundle together as the bundle gets smaller. Twine will still work but may not be as consistently secure.
After you make your bundles, hang them in a location with moving air. Ideally, you will also want a dark spot since light can affect the flavor-strength of dried herbs. Warmth helps dry the herb as well. In a warm location with good air circulation and low humidity, lavender will take about two weeks to dry out. The lavender should crumble easily when you rub it between your fingers.
In a food dehydrator
Like most herbs, lavender dries well in a food dehydrator. It is designed to dry herbs quickly without burning them. Place the lavender on the dehydrator’s trays. Make sure that they are spaced to allow for good air circulation.
If your food dehydrator allows you to set a precise temperature, set it to between 95 degrees Fahrenheit and 120. You may need to dry it at the higher end of that temperature range if your home is particularly cold or humid. It shouldn’t take more than five hours in the food dehydrator to dry your lavender until it crumbles easily.
If there’s no food dehydrator available, but you need your lavender dried in a few hours, another good option is to use an oven. The best way to do this is to set it to the lowest heat that the oven can generate, which is usually about 180 degrees, but many ovens won’t go below 200.
You can keep the oven from getting too hot by propping it open. The open door also allows the moist air to escape thus helping to dry the lavender more efficiently. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the lavender out on it. Place the lavender in the oven for about 10 minutes then flip it over and dry it for 10 more minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the lavender in until it cools completely. At this point, it should be dry but if it isn’t, repeat the process.
In the microwave
While drying herbs in the microwave is not ideal, you can do it if you are pressed for time. Spread the lavender out on a paper plate or paper towel and place it in the microwave. Set to high and microwave for a minute then flip. Microwave for another minute. If the lavender still isn’t dry, continue to run in 20-second bursts, checking its dryness after each burst.