Lavender buds preparation is a lengthy process, but if not processed correctly the lavender buds batch can cause even allergy outbreak because it may contain dust-like pollen that irritates eyes, nostrils and throat. We know that ! We process our lavender only with our hands and with added love. The process of dried lavender buds includes 5 steps:
1) Cutting and bunching. We cut lavender stems when the flowers are fully open showing their best color. And we make bunches of 100-200 stems with rubber band .
2) Drying. We hang bunches upside down one-by-one on a long string in the attic of our barn where it is hot, shady and well ventilated - best conditions to dry flowers with minimal loss of color. We keep them hung for 1-3 weeks or when completely dry. The color fades just a bit, but still remain purple shade. Best of these bunches will be sold as dried lavender bouquets, the others will be processed further for dried buds
3) De-budding. When lavender bunches are completely dry, we start de-budding: separating buds from stems. We use a metal mesh to rub the bunches against it, then buds with some small pieces of stems fall thru into the catching container
4) First sifting. We dump the load of dried buds on top of the small-cell plastic mesh (like those window screens) in well ventilated (actually slightly windy) area. Then we start vigorously stirring and moving around the load of the dried buds by hand on top of the mesh. With this process most of the small pieces and dust fall thru the mesh leaving clean buds behind. We repeat this process at least 4 times withing 2-3 days or until no more visible particles are falling out
5) Last Sifting. Finally we give it a good final shake in small batches, we do it outside with help of little breeze and sunshine, sifting out last dust and picking out by hand other impurities like small pieces of stems or hay
The bulk of Lavender buds that comes out of this process is clean, free of dust and debris - ready for any use including culinary.
It's hard to believe how much dust and debris we sweep away when we are done:
We store our Lavender buds in plastic bins covered with paper for air circulation: