Life springs into action every morning as the sun rises, buds open and flowers turn to greet the sun where native and European bee's begin their days honey collection, and so too, we begin our flower collection for the day. Mullein, St Johns Wort, Calendula and Elder are the common targets.
In this post we'll talk about the process of hand-picking the freshly opened individual St Johns Wort flowers, and how to extract the precious St Johns Wort fresh flower constituents by infusing it directly in sweet almond oil.
Collection happens before the sun is too hot but after any surface moisture has evaporated. On our farm 9 am is a good start time, although it can be already strikingly hot!!
St Johns Wort is quite a delicate plant so care must be taken when picking individual flowers, the whole process can be a little tedious and time consuming. But it's so worth it when you get such a rich red 100% fresh flower infusion.
Maximize picking efficiency is the name of the game as well as quality over quantity. Remember we only want to make an infused oil out of the freshest flowers. We developed the most efficient picking technique by cupping the left hand, nipping off the flowers with the thumb and forefinger, then collecting up to 10 or more flowers in the cupped part of the hand. The right hand is used to hold and support the stem of the delicate St Johns Wort plant and to line it up so that the left picking hand can simply keep picking.
We have found that 30grams+ of freshly picked flowers per litre of sweet almond oil produces a high quality, beautiful & rich St Johns Wort (fresh flower) infused oil. This is the standard we use when making this infused oil.
- Use a glass jar that's the correct size for the amount of oil and flowers you have on hand with a tightly fitting lid.
- Add the freshly picked flowers into your jar full of sweet almond oil.
- Store in a brown paper bag in a warm sunny place for 3 weeks.
- Agitate the flowers in oil twice daily (shake jar vigorously).
- Filter the oil through a fine clean cotton cloth to remove flower solids and pour into your favourite bottle for ease of use.
Warning: It's good to be mindful that fresh flowers contain moisture and can harbour droplets of water, it's important to reduce this risk of contamination as much as possible. We've had whole batches of infused oil ruined because of such moisture.