To begin, make sure you commence the harvesting when the sun is at its brightest in the morning, and all the dew has evaporated off the plants – you will need them absolutely dry in order to begin the harvest. Since the flower is what you will be aiming to harvest, it is essential that the sun be up, as the flowers open up in the sun, and close when it gets dark.
Start by shaking the plants to remove any dust, dirt, or pests that might be clinging to them, and then proceed to choose from two methods for harvesting German chamomile. The first method involves the pinching off of just the flowerheads, while the second method requires you to snip off a good bit of the stem along with the flowerhead.
If you choose to just pinch off the flowerhead, use your fingers, or a pair of gardening shears, to cut it just below the flowerhead, directly where the stem begins. This method will allow for rapid re-growth of the plant, and is ideal if you are looking for a quick and continual harvest. If you cut off just the flowerheads, you will need to use a drying screen for the drying process.
If you decide to cut the stems along with the flowers, snip it off around 2-3 inches down the stem. This method will cause the plant to regrow slower, but with the stems attached, you will be able to dry the flowers you harvested by using twine to bind them into bunches and then hanging them up.
Once you harvest the plants using your preferred method, look for a hot, dry, and dark area in your house, or in your garage – closets are ideal for this purpose. The plants need to be kept away from direct heat or sunlight, as well as moisture. Put the plants there to dry, and check on them every now and then.
Finally, once the flowers dry completely, you can store them. If you harvested just the flowerheads, you are good to go, but if you harvested them with the stems, pinch the flowers off the stems, and discard the latter. Now, put the flowerheads in an airtight glass container, in a cool, dark place devoid of sunlight, and store them here until you need them.