Cooking with Lavender

Desert Island

If you were ship-wrecked on a deserted island, which herb or essential oil would you like to take with you?

I would choose lavender because of its amazing versatility.  I could use it for treating a sunburn, or a scrape, or a bug bite.  It would reduce the stress of it all, make me less hungry, and help me relax and get some sleep.  Lavender would ease a tension headache and sore muscles from building a shelter.  I’d use lavender to wash myself and my clothes, or anything else I could take off the ship.  I could brew a tea, or make some lemonade and make my “catch of the” day taste divine.  Hands down, lavender would be my first choice and I would hope to be rescued before my stash of lavender ran out! To see more of lavender’s benefits, take a look at https://lavendergreen.com/lavender-benefits/

Let’s explore some the benefits of lavender, beginning with it’s culinary properties because that seems to be the least known use of this wonderful herb.

For now, I’d like to describe the many ways of using lavender in food or drink.  It seems that every on-line food website includes recipes using lavender in beverages, sweet baked goods and savory dishes.  A good rule of thumb is that lavender can be substituted for any recipe that includes mint, because lavender is part of the mentha family–with a floral twist.  The ingredient list in the recipes can call for a drop of lavender essential oil, whole dried lavender buds, finely ground or crushed lavender buds, an infusion, a tincture, a candied lavender floret,  a lavender flower head, or lavender blend with other herbs such as Herbs de Provence.

Bowl of Herbs de Provence

On top of these form variations, there are well over 100 unique cultivars of lavender, all with slightly different properties, scents and flavors.  You can simplify your choice by using Lavandula Angustifolia for culinary purposes.  The two varieties of Angustifolia in widest use for food preparations are Munstead and Hidcote.  Angustifolia is often referred to as English lavender, or True lavender and sometimes wild crafted lavender.  These two varieties are considered the “sweetest” or most “floral” and therefore better tasting in food.  Munstead is pale blue in color and adds its wonderful flavor to a recipe, Hidcote is deep blue in color and makes an excellent decorative garnish, such as salad dressing or icing on a cupcake.Periwinkle Blue Dried Lavender Buds

For food preparation, the best choice is organic lavender.  Organically grown lavender may be a little more expensive because no herbicides are used, but who needs more chemicals in their body?  Organic lavender essential oils labeled E.O. are sometimes noted as an ingredient, but we rarely use the oil in cooking at LavenderGreen and tend to rely on buds, blends and infusions as our mainstay.  Visit our shop to order organic lavender buds and blends.  Wow your family and friends with your gourmet cooking prowess with just a pinch of lavender.

Never, ever use Fragrant or Fragrance oils in cooking, by the way.  They are not meant for ingestion and could be very toxic.

Stay tuned for more recipes and techniques for cooking with lavender.

Cheers,
Ginna

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