Chamomile is originally from Daisy flower family. Chamomile is an herb that soothes mind, relaxes and gives joy. It’s used in the bath, as a comforting tea and in cosmetic recipes. Growing Chamomile and harvesting is important practice. The little blossoms are plucked in midsummer. The finest moment in time to harvest chamomile is on a sunny day after all dew is gone when the bunch of blossoms is at its fullness that would be in the midday. The plant should be dry. The flowers open fully at the sunrise and close around sunset. The harvesting of these buds should not be delayed as the flowers lose their fragrance and flavor the moment they start to discolor. The leaves should be harvested when the plant is mature. Leaves and flowers dry very quickly so the drying time should not be estimated.
Harvesting chamomile blossoms can be painstaking work, requiring a gardener’s best patience. To harvest the blossoms you need to shake the plant very tenderly. This is done to remove any pests or waste. The chamomile can be harvested in two different ways. And each has its own advantages and paybacks. Either you can pinch the flowers off at the stem or cut them with gardening shears right below the head of the flower. If you pinch the flowers it will allow the re growth of the plants very quickly. This is the amazing method if you want continual harvest. You can pluck flowers with a chamomile rake that promptly cuts flowers in single wrath. If you cut them with fingers its time consuming but very pleasurable.
Either you can cut the stems with flowers attached to them. If you cut the stems the plant will take more time to rejuvenate. Although you have an option of drying the chamomile by hanging it up in bunches.
If you are plucking the flowers than they are best dried on a screen while covered lightly with cheesecloth. They should be spread separately on a screen or mat and placed in a warm, well-ventilated place, out of direct sun, with a temperature close to 95°F (35°C). The express drying will conserve much of the oil and other medicinal properties. If you chose to dry the herb by hanging it by the stem, than now is the time to remove the flower part. Toss the stem. Place the chamomile in airtight dry glass containers and keep out of sunlight. It would be excellent if you not break apart the flower head until you are ready to use it. Keep as much of it together as possible.
If you are harvesting chamomile for making tea it is the flower that is important and not the stem. Though the petals of chamomile have the essential oils that are used to make tea but the whole flower can be used. If you want to use the chamomile for the making cream than harvesting of the flowers is ideally done when the flowers are mature and fully open.
The harvesting of chamomile does require efforts and is time consuming. But the rewards and payback is precious and cannot be compared.