Well, maybe it's not exactly 'pickin'.' Plucking and Pinching are better descriptive words. You'll notice that your pinching fingers will turn a lovely shade of crimson. This is identification marker #2. I like to pinch the buds just before I drop them into a small jar of olive oil that I keep close by the plant. Yes, it can get very tedious at times. You may only get a few buds everyday, but persistence is the key to get the desired results. Be sure to keep the lid on tight and elevate it slightly off the dirt so that it gets the full benefit of the blazing solar rays. (I use a small stool) It will need to remain out there for one month.
Before you start you should know that less oil is better. Trust me on this. It is better to have only a few drops of perfect St. John's Wort oil, than a whole quart of mediocre oil!After one month in the sun, adding buds daily or every other day, you will be rewarded with an oil that is more precious than red, red rubies....well,okay, in the Farm at Coventry book, anyway. Deep red oil is the perfect identification (#3) of a very well made St. John's Wort oil. The red pigment in the flowers is called hypericin, one of the most useful compounds found in the plant. It is only available in abundance in the fresh flowers, disintegrating rapidly when dried.This is all that remains of the oil that I made last year. That is a good thing. Oops, sorry, Martha.I know you probably own the rights to that line now..but it is a very good thing to make just enough oil to last the whole year. After straining the oil through a fine strainer, label and store in a cool, dark cupboard. This is the first this oil has been in bright sunlight since last summer at this time!I like to use this as a massage oil to the neck, shoulders and spine area which is rich in nerve endings. And especially tail bones injuries...ouch! As you can probably imagine, there are alot of nerves there. The oil is useful for pinched, inflamed nerves, particularly sciatica. I always add a few drops of essential oil of lavender to the finished oil, too. Goood stuff.