Planting chamomile in a garden offers a lot of benefits. Not only does it decorate your garden with its flowers, but the plant is also known as an herb with various health benefits. Chamomile’s edible flowers have a gentle scent but incredible efficacy to boost up your health. How to harvest chamomile flowers is actually simple that you can do with bare hands.
There are two types of chamomiles usually found in the garden; Roman chamomile and German chamomile. Both of them are hardy plants that their blossoms and leaves are happy under the harsh sun. If you are lucky, some blossoms can also be found during winter that you can enjoy gentle chamomile tea in the chilly atmosphere.
How to Harvest Chamomile Flowers
Summer is the best time to harvest chamomile. But some of them can also be picked through a winter. It is the flowers that you should harvest as herbs or teas, while the leaves can be collected for therapeutic purposes.
Though it seems simple, harvesting chamomile has its own challenge. At the time you want the best flavor and benefits, it should be picked at its peak. You should pick the blossoms daily to make it continue to bloom during the summer. In fact, the flowers do not bloom at the same time. This becomes a real challenge for gardeners to harvest their chamomile as it takes a lot of time.
When it comes to harvesting chamomile, there are several picking processes that should be carried out. While most gardeners tend to pick the blossoms as they like, try to follow these processes:
Choose the best time
Morning is the best time of the day to harvest chamomile. Start harvesting your blossoms after the dew has evaporated, but before the sun goes to high. Though chamomile blossoms stand up to the harsh sun, picking early in the morning gives you the best quality of tea flavor. But picking flowers too early in the morning or after rain makes them mold as drying.
Do not pick all blossoms you see in the patch. Select only flowers which are fully open. The blossoms in this stage provide the best taste and flavor. The best blossoms have petals that lay flat around the yellow center. If blossom’s petals are curled up, it is too early to pick. But if the petals start to droop down, pick them soon.
How to pick the flowers
Picking chamomile is easy that you only need to pinch off the stalk below the blossoms. When you see the petals or centers a little bit dirty, gently shake the flower to remove dust or any insects. You also can use chamomile rake if you want to harvest chamomile more easy and efficient. Collect the flowers in a dry basket. Some gardeners wash the blossoms after picking to clean them up. In truth, it is not necessary to wash the blossoms unless you spray pesticides on them.
Rinsing the blossoms may wash away the pollens and you do not want to lose it. Besides, water contact can make the flowers mold as they dry. It makes the flower unsafe to consume.
Dry the chamomile
At this point, you already have a basketful of chamomile and the next step is to dry the flowers. Chamomile can be dried naturally using heat and airflow or in a dehydrator. The first method is the simplest as you only need to use sheer fabric and spread the chamomile on it. Put the sheer fabric and chamomile on a screen and let it dry. When blossoms turn dry, transfer the dried flowers in to an airtight container.
But if you choose to use a dehydrator, it might cost a lot of money to purchase the tool. A dehydrator works efficiently to dry the flowers without wasting much time. Place the blossoms on a tray that usually comes with the dehydrator, set the temperature to 95 degrees Fahrenheit and turn it on. In 12 to 24 hours, you will get nicely dried chamomile.
When transferring chamomile to a container, make sure not to crumble the flowers. Though it will be crumbled, at last, crumbling the dried flowers right before storing will reduce the flavors. Thus it is best if you crumble before you make a chamomile tea.
Storing chamomile harvest
After putting your chamomile harvest into an airtight container, keep the container out of direct light and heat. Place in a cool and dry place to avoid the flowers mold. A well-kept chamomile harvest should stay until the following harvest season, which comes the next year.
How to Make Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea has a gentle, refreshing flavor that is best enjoyed in the afternoon or in sleepy time. It is pretty simple to make a cup of chamomile tea as you only need to pour crumbled tea into boiling water. But if you are not sure how to make chamomile tea the right way, you will find the simple recipe down here.
For one serving of chamomile tea, put 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile into a cup of boiling water. Steep for 3 to 5 minutes as you like. If you want to have a stronger flavor, add more chamomile crumbles into the cup rather than leaving them steeping longer. The longer you steep, the bitter it will taste.
Good news, consuming chamomile tea regularly may improve your health as it contains useful compounds to boost your health. For instance, chamomile is known to be a gentle nervine that makes it a great treat when you are nervous. Chamomile tea has a calming effect that it is good to consume in sleepy-time for better sleep.
Besides, chamomile also contains an anti-inflammatory agent that consuming chamomile tea helps soothe irritated issue. At the time you have upset stomach, chamomile is one that you should find. Chamomile has bitter compound is effective to calm down your upset stomach.
In a nut shell, chamomile is a useful plant that can be the best companion for your crops. How to harvest chamomile is quite easy that you only need to pick the stem. After harvesting and drying the blossoms, you can enjoy the gentle flavored chamomile tea along with its health benefits.