July 1, 2013

How To Harvest Yarrow

"A weed is simply a plant that you don't know what to do with."
Author Unknown


There is a lot of yarrow growing here on Oak Hill. Usually I harvest enough to make a big batch of infused oil to use throughout the year. I often double- or even triple-infuse the oil with several herbs, which might include plantain, chickweed, comfrey (which I buy since it doesn't grow here yet), and lemon balm. I make the oil into salves or creams, or use it in my homemade soap.




This year I wanted to have a few more options. I'm beginning to use herbs in teas, and I want to make some powdered yarrow to use as a wound powder. Having the fresh herbs is wonderful, but winter does arrive eventually even in Oklahoma, and there are no fresh herbs in winter. So in addition to making the infused oil, I dehydrated some yarrow as well.




I gathered a big armful of yarrow stems. The best time to harvest yarrow, or any other herb, is on a warm, sunny day. Wait until the dew has dried, but don't wait until it's so hot out that the plant's essential oils have dissipated.




I barely walked ten steps to gather all of this. 


I tried to pull out as much foreign material (stuff that isn't yarrow, like grass or other plants) as I could before going in the house, but I did find a few more stems to be separated and thrown out.




I use both the flowers and the leaves. I cut off the flower heads using my kitchen shears.





Then, holding the top of the stem in one hand, I simply run my hand down the stem and all the leaves come off very easily. (Taking this photo was extremely hard - I'm right-handed and so is my camera - so I'm pretending that I'm left-handed here.)




 
If you find a multi-branched stem, it's easiest to cut them into individual stems before pulling off the leaves.




I ended up with this big bowl full of yarrow leaves and flower heads. 


 


You can use a dehydrator, or just spread out the herbs on a cookie sheet and dry in a very slow oven. Set the oven as low as it will go; you don't want to burn or cook the herbs, just dry out the moisture. I used my L'Equip dehydrator, and filled all six trays.




The herbs are "done" when the stems snap easily and cleanly. 




I filled an entire container with this batch. Label your container (dried herbs tend to look alike, although you'd probably be able to tell from the smell that this is yarrow), and store in a cool, dry, dark place.





Remember, before using this or any herb, please research it fully. 
You are responsible for your own health. 




What is your favorite dried herb? How do you use it? Please leave a comment.


Other posts in this series:
Plantain
Woolly Mullein
Wild Onions
Echinacea
Yarrow
How to Harvest Yarrow
Pokeweed
Lambsquarters
Curly Dock
Vetch
DIY Herb Field Guide



This post has been shared at the following:

Homestead Barn Hop
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Backyard Farming Connection
Eco-Kids Tuesday
Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways
The HomeAcre Hop
Simple Lives Thursday
Farm Girl Friday
From the Farm Blog Hop
 Please visit my Blog Hops page for the links


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19 comments:

Rachael said...

Wow, I love this idea! Just another something to keep in mind when I have some rambling land. Your plants are beautiful, by the way. Thanks for sharing!

Our Neck of the Woods said...

I'm really going to have to search my property to see if we have any yarrow. I'd love to do this! Lately I've been drying oregano and thyme.

Oak Hill Homestead said...

Thank you, Rachel! I'm glad you visited and hope you'll come back.

Oak Hill Homestead said...

Tammy, yarrow is easy to find when in bloom, and also in the fall when the flowerheads have dried. I hope you have some on your property. Oregano and thyme - I bet your house smells good. :-)

April S. said...

What a great idea! I love the smell of yarrow but never thought of what I could do with it. I have some in a big planter blooming right now and it grows wild around the fields like crazy. Thanks for sharing!

Oak Hill Homestead said...

April, yarrow does have a distinctive scent, doesn't it? It's a plant with "many talents" and is also pretty, even in the fall when it's dead.

Tessa Zundel said...

This was great! We shared with our Facebook fans at homesteadlady.com.

littlelagarden said...

Great idea! We have a hybrid yellow yarrow growing in our garden. Do you think we could use this in addition to the "wild" white yarrow?

Oak Hill Homestead said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Tessa!

Oak Hill Homestead said...

littlelagarden: I believe I read that all colors can be used. The white might be more effective, but "use what you've got" is my motto.

Fresh Eggs Daily said...

Great Post! New follower here. I use yarrow with my chickens and we have tons growing in the field next door. I am glad to know I can dry it and use it all winter as well. We also have Queen Annes Lace growing in amongst the yarrow, so its been interesting to note the side-by-side differences.
Lisa
Fresh Eggs Daily
http://www.fresh-eggs-daily.com/2013/06/the-benefits-of-yarrow-for-your-chickens.html

Oak Hill Homestead said...

Lisa, that field must be gorgeous! Yes, it would be interesting to see the differences of these similar flowers side-by-side. Thanks for visiting and for following!

jennymt1402002 said...

I have yarrow in my pasture. This year there was some yellow flowers that looked like the yarrow. Does yarrow come in yellow also? I will have to try to do this with my yarrow. I noticed that someone else has a yellow one. I just wanted to be sure that it is a yarrow plant.

Oak Hill Homestead said...

Thank you for visiting, Jenny. Wild yarrow is white, but there are cultivated varieties that have yellow flowers. Check the leaves and see if they are similar. I'd also ask a local expert, perhaps your county extension agent. Could it be yellow because it's beginning to dry out? Mine is now turning yellow-brown.

JES said...

What a beautiful blog! Thank you for all the wonderful herbal information that you shared on the Art of Home-Making Mondays. I enjoyed this post very much.

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

Thank you, JES. I'm so glad you stopped by!

magnoliasntea said...

Great post! I've yet to use yarrow, but I am familiar with it. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Smith said...

Thank you for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist! You've been featured this morning @ Back to the Basics!!!

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

Thank you very much, Mary!