HOME: How To Harvest and Dry German Chamomile
Some herbs and flowers can be invasive. Chamomile flowers can become that if you are not careful. However, they are very cheery and easy to grow, and the floral, herbal scent is lovely to have around you when you are outside. My chamomile sows itself and comes back every year. I transplanted it to a large pot on the deck, this way I can smell it, have it close to the kitchen, but also keep it in a controlled, growing environment. Chamomile can be used for many different things, but the easiest thing to do is to steep it in tea. And what is better than using your own flowers for your own tea? Especially in the colder months, there is something lovely about enjoying a warm, floral brew from your summer garden bounty in the chilly, grey winter.
Drying is very easy. I will tell you how. Chamomile, like many herbs and greens, enjoy being cut. It's what they are meant for. They will continue to come back and bloom throughout the summer. So by September you should have a nice stockpile of dried flowers you can store in an airtight jar for teas and such.
Gather your flowers in a bunch. (If you use a lot of pesticides or in an urban setting with heavy air pollution, be sure to rinse them and let sit in one layer on paper towels for a few hours to air dry before bunching them.) With kitchen twine, tie them off leaving a long tail for hanging. Your plats will look a little bare (see above) but they will get flowering in no time, and sometimes even come back fuller from the trimming.
Take a paper bag, and trim off the top about 1-2 inches if need be. You just want the bag to cover the main flower section. Poke large holes all over the bag. This will let air circulate. The bag will prevent dust and dirt from landing on your flowers and protect them from bumps or smashing, as well as catch petals as they dry. Chamomile is very delicate as it dries, and you want to keep as much as possible.
Put your flower section in the bag, and loosely bunch the bag around the stem. Loosely fit a large rubber band around to keep the bag in place. Puff out the bag around the flowers so air circulate around them inside.
Hang dry in a cool, dry place where they will be undisturbed. Could take 1-2 weeks,
When ready, flake off/cut off the flowers in a jar and store for up to 3-4 months. Discard stems and leaves. Make sure your flowers are TRULY dry before storing them in a jar. Otherwise you will get mold.
What else can yo do with Chamomile? I posted some ideas in the way back machine. Here is a link: