Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:57 pm
In principle, woodruff can be collected from spring to autumn for use as a medicinal and aromatic herb. However, harvesting before flowering is recommended due to the strong increase in coumarin content thereafter.
Harvesting and processing woodruff correctly
As a rule, the fresh stems of the woodruff are harvested shortly before the flowering period in April and May, which has also earned the woodruff punch the traditional name May punch. In addition to woodruff punch, the following products can also be refined with the characteristic taste of woodruff:
- Berliner Weisse
- Woodruff syrup
- Woodruff lemonade
- Woodruff ice cream
In commercially produced desserts and beverages, however, the use of real woodruff has been banned for quite a few years now, as excessive and regular consumption could cause damage to the health of children and also adults. Harvesting woodruff in spring is so important because the content of the medicinally active coumarin in the leaves and stems increases with flowering. When used sparingly, however, this substance can also have a positive effect on health and help relieve headaches, for example. Always let the woodruff steep for a maximum of 15 to 30 minutes in the woodruff punch or in other liquids to prevent overdoses.
The drying of woodruff
For drying, usually a few stems of woodruff are bundled with a thread and hung upside down in a well-ventilated place. The drying process is faster in the oven, but then a temperature of about 40 to 50 degrees Celsius should not be exceeded and the oven door should be held slightly open with a spoon handle, so that the escaping moisture from the plants can escape. A short wilting of the woodruff overnight is also recommended for fresh use, as this intensifies the aroma.
Freeze or freeze the woodruff
The aroma-enhancing effect of wilting can also be achieved by briefly freezing the leaves. You can take advantage of this if you do not have enough time for overnight wilting. While dried woodruff leaves only retain their aroma for about a few months, you can store woodruff in portions in the freezer for up to a year.
If your woodruff has already bloomed, you can still use it. But then pay attention to a correspondingly more economical dosage.