The Q&A Archives: Tiny bugs on my chamomile

Question: I have an overobundnce of chamomile growing in my yard. Last years chamomile seedlings (grown in a container outside) found its way to the ground/gravel where the containers once sat. I am harvesting quite a bit of the flower heads on a daily basis in hopes to use for tea. What is the correct way to harvest/air dry them so that when I am ready to brew for tea I won't have to worry about the tiny bugs that I have found on them after I have plucked them from outside.

Answer: Chamomile is usually pest free so I am not certain what might be on the flowers. You might be able to dislodge them with a spray of water from the garden hose, then let the plants dry before you harvest. Or, I would expect them to leave on their own once the flowers begin to dry up. Air dry them in a single layer on a tray (turn about twice a day) or on screening to allow for good air circulation. Dry them in an airy, dark place if you can. Another approach would be to cut the stems and tie them into small bundles using rubber bands (rubber bands will tighten when the stems shrink when they dry), then hang them upside down. The flowers tend to come apart as they dry so dangle them over or into paper bags with air holes punched through the sides. (The bag will catch the pieces.) Make sure they are thoroughly dry before storing in an airtight container in a dark place. To test, pack a few and check for condensation. If there is any, dry longer. Enjoy your tea!

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