Wednesday, 7 July 2010

My Favourite Harvest

The house is filling with the glorious scent of the first of the lavender harvest drying against the Aga.
This is my favourite harvest of the year and this year as usual I will be drying some for future use, setting some aside for baking with, and planning my makes for the coming months.
Mystery type,
palest and smallest of flower heads and smelling faintly of lavender curry!

Each new harvest brings with it new ideas, and a different type of lavender. Unfortunately, this year I have lost the label off the newest lavender. Lost?........no doubt a lovely little lady has removed it and left it somewhere on the farm. Yes, Rosy, you know I mean you!! Oh well, whatever sort it is it has the most unusual fragrance, almost Lavender mixed with Curry plant (and no they weren't growing side by side).

Dwarf Munstead, a lovely lavender colour.

The lovely deep blue of Hidcote
And, lastly my favourite and most useful to crafters, Grosso. It always looks gloriously shabby when bunched but gives off the most divine scent, so strong and well, lavendery. This is the ideal one to use in lavender bags mixed with Hidcote for the colour if it can be seen through the bag, or with Pearl Barley if you want that lovely weighty, tactile feel.
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After a while against the Aga, the Lavender is moved slightly away to continue drying slowly. Another way I've found works is to treat it like you would when drying Hydrangea stems, and stand it in a vase with a centimetre of water to drink and then leave it to dry naturally.
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Sometimes even for me, neither method works and the lavender remains soft, it's as much down to the growing conditions and temperature in the house as it dries as anything, so fingers crossed it works this time.
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And now I'm back out to get the next batch before the rain comes and dampens it.
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Have a good day.
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Sue xx

10 comments:

  1. Heaven... I love Hidcote but have Grosso.
    Your kitchen must smell wonderful & you should sleep well tonight !
    Thanks for the cabbage leaves ideas

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  2. Sue,
    I'm very jealous! Lavender is one thing I have real difficulty growing. Funnily enough, I am making lavender bags today, always a pleasant task. Hope it all dries ok for you.
    Hen xxx

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  3. Sue - wise Oracle of all things growing & natural & hens.....I have a weird question...

    Now, fed up as I am with the millions of slugs we get at the back where the field is
    I have resorted to filling the old cat litter tray with beer - and it has worked...it is full of bloated dead slugs.....


    Should I feed them to the hens ??!!!!!!

    Drunk hens !

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  4. I would advise giving only a few to the hens first to see how they react......if they topple over and start snoring.......take away the slugs!!

    Seriously ....a few won't do any harm, they will decide themselves if they are edible, hens are very good regulators of their own diets.

    The Oracle has spoken!!

    Sue xx

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  5. Ooooh love your aga Sue - looks like something out of a magazine :-) And no 'tractor parts' in sight!
    Charlotte
    x

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  6. love lavendar too - colour and scent - such a happy fragrance. Your kitche looks fab! Love Helen

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  7. Hello Sue! I hope you don't mind me asking, but when is the best time to cut lavender for drying? Mine is about to come into flower. Should they be in flower when drying them or when they turn to seed? Also, are any types of Lavender OK to use in cooking? I bet your kitchen smells divine by the way! x

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  8. The best time to cut lavender for drying is just before the flower head reaches perfection. When the flower is still quite closed. It's always a bit hit and miss with lavender, so don't worry if you leave it slightly too late, just go for it. The worst that can happen is that your flower head will fall apart, but then you can use it for filling lavender bags anyway.

    The milder scented lavenders are best for baking with but go sparingly, they are still quite strong tasting. The best thing to make is Lavender Sugar. Mix a few tablespoons of lavender with caster sugar and leave it to infuse together in a sealed jar. Use this for biscuits and cakes......divine!!

    Sue xx

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  9. Thank you Sue! I was going to use it for lavender bags anyway! I am looking forward to making your suggestion of lavender sugar too. My mouth is watering now!!! x

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  10. Do you by any chance make lavender short bread? We have loads of lavender in our garden and I am thinking of attempting some. I had some lovely lavender short bread a few years ago and am now on the hunt for a good recipe. It had the most wonderful flavour you can possibly imagine -- they were actually biscuits, not the Scottish shortbread my granny used to make but small round biscuits around 1 inch in diameter and they literally melted in my mouth, with a rich buttery taste mingled with the lavender. Yum!

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