Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lavender from the garden

What to do with all the lavender has been a question on my mind this past week. I need to keep clipping the plants to help encourage growth but you can only keep so many bundles of dried flowers in your house before it gets too crazy. I think that perhaps other people will not find this to be an issue. While looking around for ways to use rosemary and other herbs I came to the conclusion that lavender oil would be nice to make. I do love the scent and I certainly can find many uses for it around here.

In addition to making oil there are many other ways to use lavender.

Lavender oil

lavender stems
high quality almond or olive oil
jar w/tight fitting lid
strainer
clean bottles/jars

Fill a jar with lavender stems whose leaves and flowers have been lightly crushed. Add a high quality almond or olive oil to the jar covering up the lavender. Allow the mixture to steep for about a month. Daily shake the jar (gently) to ensure that the lavender and oil mix well. After about a month use a strainer to separate the lavender from the oil. Transfer the oil into clean decorative jars.

Another lavender oil recipe
1-1/2 to 2 Cups fresh Lavender buds or flowers (half amount if dried)
1-1/2 Cups Olive Oil
7 vitamin E capsule 400IUs, or adjust quantity

Heat olive oil till it starts to bubble at the edge of the pot. While the olive oil is heating, add lavender to a heatproof glass or ceramic bowl. Pierce vitamin capsules and add vitamin E to the loose lavender. Add olive oil and stir gently. Set aside. Allow mixture to come to room temperature. Pour into a large canning jar. Place in a warm spot to season for two weeks to a month, shaking daily. Strain mixture and decant into decorative jars.

Oatmeal lavender bath
2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
2 tablespoons ground oatmeal*

Mix together dried lavender flowers and the ground oatmeal. Place the mixture in a muslin bag secure it closed. Hang the bag over the water spigot of your bathtub. Let the bag soak in the water to create a soothing and scented bath.
makes 1 bath bag
*Place some oatmeal in a food processor and pulse until it creates a powder.


Lavender water
3 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
3/4 cup boiling water
clean spray bottle

Place the dried lavender flowers in a small bowl or mug. Pour boiling water over the flowers and allow to steep until cool. Strain and pour into a clean spray bottle. Spritz your bed sheets or pillow case before going to bed for a restful night's sleep. This can also be used on the skin to give a light refreshing scent.


Lavender bath fizz

1/3 cup baking soda
1 tablespoon cornstarch
10 drops lavender essential oil
1/4 cup citric acid powder

In a large bowl whisk together the first 3 ingredients. Add the citric acid and mix thoroughly. Store the bath fizz in an air tight container. The mixture must remain dry until used to retain its fizz reaction. To use: fill your tub with water then add 1/4 of a cup of the fizz to your bath water.


Lavender shower gel

1/2 cup pure liquid soap
2/3 cup carrier oil
1/4 cup glycerin
30 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops tea tree essential oil
6 drops chamomile essential oil

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into a pump or squirt bottle. Shake before using.



Lavender bath salt

2 ounces or 4 tablespoons of salt
18 drops of lavender essential oil

Mix ingredients together and store in a jar or bottle. To use add 1 or 2 tablespoons to your bath water.

Lavender sugar

2 Tablespoons dried lavender flowers
1 cup granulated sugar
Jar with a tight fitting lid

Place the two tablespoons of lavender flowers in a jar and add sugar. Seal the jar and set it aside for two weeks, shaking it occasionally. After two weeks, the aroma of the lavender will have permeated the sugar, and the sugar will need to be sifted to remove the flower buds. Store sugar in a jar or other air tight container.
Alternatively you can put the lavender flowers in a length of muslin/cheesecloth wrapped securely closed. Place this lavender packet in a jar and cover with a cup of white sugar. After two weeks of daily shaking the sugar is ready and the lavender packet can be discarded.

Using lavender sugar is easy. To make lavender sugar cookies substitute lavender sugar for the plain sugar in your favorite sugar cookie recipe.

2 comments :

Judith said...

These sound like fun gift projects. I didn't have enough lavender to save, but I have plenty of rosemary. What's your secret for lavender?

Yvonne said...

The only reasons I can think are: it loves the super hot sunshine I get out front. The location also keeps the soil well drained and that is a must since they are not a soggy soil plant, nor are they a lover of humidity. They also like alkaline soil and since it's mostly clay in these parts they do well.

Really the trick is knowing they are a Mediterranean plant. They must have FULL laser beam sunshine to thrive. Not much else grows for me in the front so I'm glad it likes that spot. I only grow hybrids (lavandins). They are more forgiving and tend to be better producers.