Lavender is one of the best smelling plants out there. The tiny purple flowers can be found in cleaning supplies, beauty products, and more. But lavender is far more useful than just its flowers, the leaves can also be used for their amazing smell! There are so many fun things you can do with dried lavender leaves that you’ll want to consider growing a plant of your own.
Lavender leaves can be used in eight fun different ways! You can purchase them already dried, or dry them yourself if you have your own plant. Dried lavender leaves can be used for infused vinegar or oil, lavender extract, homemade candles, new flavor blends in herbal tea, for a relaxing bath salt, in place of rosemary, as lavender leaf lemonade, or to freshen up a room with a lavender spray.
While all lavender will give you a great smell, the best type of lavender for consumption is English Lavender. This will have a slightly sweeter flavor and not be as ‘soapy’ tasting as other types.
Drying Lavender Leaves
When using lavender leaves, the easiest form is dried. This will give you the maximum potency as well as last a long time.
Drying leaves is simple. If you have a lavender plant, cut the tops of the leaves while they are still green. This is best after the flowers have bloomed. Leave the majority of the stem for it to be able to grow back.
Lavender can be left alone to dry or dried out in an oven or food dehydrator.
Air Drying Lavender
For air drying, scatter all the leaves out loosely on a paper towel or a kitchen towel. Leave them in a dry, dark spot for a few days or until they are dry. But make sure to keep an eye on them, if they are too wet or are bunched together they could begin to mold instead of drying properly.
If you have a lot of lavender to dry, take a string or elastic and tie small handfuls together in bunches. Hang the bunches upside down in a dark, dry place until they are dry. Again, make sure they are spaced out well and are in a dry place so that they will actually dry and not mold.
Drying In an Oven or Food Dehydrator
Lavender can also be dried in an oven. Spread lavender leaves out on a single layer on a baking sheet. Turn the oven on to the lowest it can go. Put the lavender leaves in the oven for 10 minutes at a time until they are dried. Turn them over as needed to make sure tehy dry evenly.
If you are drying your lavender leaves in a food dehydrator, use the herb setting and follow the directions for your specific model. The times may vary but should be around 2-3 hours.
Storing Your Lavender Leaves
Store your dried leaves in either a paper bag or sealed glass jar. Keep them somewhere dark and cool to maintain their scent. You can use dried lavender for a long time, as long as its scent holds up. If your lavender has lost its scent it will not be able to add fragrance to anything.
Once you have fully dried the leaves, now you are ready for the fun part!
8 Fun Uses for Lavender Leaves
Infuse Lavender in Vinegar or Oil
Infused oil and vinegar are great for cooking, cleaning, and beauty products. Lavender-infused vinegar can be even better as it adds an amazing smell to whatever you are doing.
To infuse vinegar or oil with lavender, simply fill a sealable glass jar or bottle halfway with dried lavender leaves. Fill the rest of the bottle with your oil or vinegar of choice. Put the lid on and let the bottle sit for 5-6 weeks before using.
Some great combinations and their uses can be:
|White vinegar and Lavender Leaves||General cleaning solution, glass cleaner fabric softener, sink deodorizer, hair rinse. Great for vinagrettes and marinades.|
|Olive Oil, Lavender Leaves, and Rosemary||Cooking oil, marinades, and venagrettes|
|Coconut oil and Lavender leaves||Moisturizer, hair and face mask, makeup remover|
Keep in mind that infused lavender oil is different than lavender essential oil. The infused oil will be less concentrated than essential oils and may not work as well for medicinal purposes, but still give you a great smell at a lower cost.
Make Lavender Extract
Extracts are surprisingly easy to make if you are patient! They can take a long time to really infuse and get a great flavor but are definitely worth the wait. Lavender extract can be made with just the lavender leaves or a mix of both flowers and leaves.
To make a lavender extract you will need:
- Dried Lavender
- Vodka, the cheapest you can find, or liquid glycerine.
- Glass jars or bottles with lids
Start by filling your jars with 1 part lavender and 4 parts vodka or glycerine. Screw the lids on tight and give them a good shake. Then leave them in a cool dark place for about 3-5 weeks.
Strain out the leaves with a coffee filter or other fine strainer before you use them.
Lavender extract can be used in baking and cooking. It works well in loaves of bread, potato dishes, and even baked goods. Use lavender extract in place of rosemary or even vanilla in your favorite recipes.
Make sure to go light on the extract at first, as it can overpower a dish quickly if you use too much. Always experiment with different amounts of lavender until you find what you like.
Create Homemade Lavender Leaf Candles
Candles are easy to put together and good to have in case of an emergency. Depending on the size of your candle, you could have a little bit of light for many hours.
To make a candle you need the following:
- Wax: paraffin, soy, or beeswax all are relatively inexpensive and work well in candles. You can also do a combination of two or three of the waxes.
- Container for your candle – mason jars or other small glass jars with lids work well
- Cotton wick
- Dried lavender leaves
- Small pot or glass bowl for melting
- Metal and wick holder or two pencils
- Spoon to stir the wax
- Wax dye, optional
- Measure out the wax. You will want to use about 1.5 times the size of your container.
- Place the wax in either a glass bowl to be melted in the microwave or in a small pot for the stoves.
- Position the candle wick in the center of your container. Most wicks come with a type of sticker on the bottom to hold them down. Using either a sick holder or to pencils, position the wick so that it is straight up and won’t move around too much when you pour in the wax.
- Melt your wax slowly, stirring constantly. You are aiming for the wax to melt completely and then sit at or around 180 degrees F.
- Take your wax off the heat and add your lavender leaves. These can be crushed before adding, or left in bigger pieces depending on how you want your candle to look. Start by adding 1/10 ration of lavender to wax. Depending on how strong you want the fragrance, you can keep adding leaves until you achieve a strong enough smell.
- Add in any coloring to your wax if desired and stir until distributed evenly.
- Pour the hot wax into your container. Leave your candle in a cool place to harden for a few days. It is ready to use when the wax is hard on top.
One note about using your new candles, make sure that the first time you light your candle you let it burn until the entire top layer of the wax is melted. If you do not, your candle will start to tunnel as you use it and you will end up hollowing out the middle of your candle, which is both a waste and a bummer.
Add a New Flavor to Tea
Herbal teas are great for a number of reasons. Depending on what type of herbs you use, they can help with headaches, stress, and sleep. Lavender is great for headaches, boosting mood, relaxation, and even clearing the sinuses.
You can add dried lavender leaves to your favorite blend, or steep them alone.
To make your own lavender tea, put about a tablespoon of dried leaves into a tea infuser. Steep in hot water for 8 – 10 minutes, depending on how strong you want it. Experiment with different amounts of lavender and different steeping times to find a combination that you love.
Here are a few options for combinations that can be both relaxing and delicious:
- Lavender and mint
- Lavender, chamomile, and lemon
- Lavender and honey
Create a Relaxing Bath Soak
Crushed lavender leaves can be added directly to warm bath water to create an aromatic and relaxing bath as it is great for muscle relaxation as well as stress relief.
You can go a step further and create your own bath salts to use yourself or even to give as a gift. All you need to do is mix the lavender leaves with Epsom salts, magnesium flakes, and any other complimentary smell.
Other scents that work well with lavender are citrus, mint, rose, cardamom, or rosemary. These combination smells can be made with essential oils or dried herbs.
Cook with Lavender in Place of Rosemary
There are so many great savory dishes that call for dried rosemary. Lavender is most similar to rosemary in how it looks and tastes, so if you love rosemary you are probably going to love adding lavender as well.
A fun, easy way to start using dried lavender is to swap out dried rosemary with dried lavender leaves in your tried and true dishes. Lavender can be substituted 1:1, or mixed in with the rosemary to combine the flavors.
As with all cooking, keep changing up the ratios and playing with the amounts until you find something you love.
Make Lavender Leaf Lemonade
Nothing is more refreshing than lemonade on a hot day, and it is even better when you have flavored lemonade! Lemonade is so versatile that you really can mix in whatever flavors you like. Lavender is a great addition to lemonade because the flavors really compliment each other and it is quick and easy.
You can use storebought lemonade or make your own!
Here is a basic recipe for Lavender Lemonade using fresh lemons.
- 2-3 tablespoons dried lavender leaves
- 1 cup boiling water
- ¾ – 1 cup sugar
- 6 cups cold water
- 6-8 lemons
- Place lavender in a glass bowl. Pour the boiling water over the lavender and let steep for 15 – 20 minutes, depending on how strong you want the flavor to be.
- Strain out the lavender leaves. Dissolve sugar into the lavender water while it is still warm.
- Add the cold water to the mixture. Cut and squeeze in the lemons. Stir it up and give it a taste test. You can always add more lemons, sugar, or even lavender until you get it to how you like it.
If lemonade is not your style, you can add lavender leaves to plain water to give it a refreshing hint. Lavender and cucumbers or lavender and mint make great infused water combinations.
Make Lavender Room Freshener
If you use lavender for nothing else, you should use it to freshed up your house!
Fill a spray bottle ⅓ full with dried lavender leaves. Fill the rest with warm water. Let it sit for a few hours before using so you get a great smell.
Spray the solution in bathrooms, kitchens, or any room that could use a bit of freshening. Refill the bottle with lavender and water as needed or as the smell fades.
Another way to freshen a room can be done by making a pot-pourri style mix. Fill a glass jar with the dried leaves and cover with a breathable cotton fabric. Set the jar in a bathroom or anywhere that could use a constant lavender scent.
Keep Experimenting with New Ways to Use Lavender
Lavender leaves are so versatile you can put them in just about anything. Their smell and flavor are great additions to anything from cooking to cleaning and everything in between!