While many people think that aromatherapy is the only option for lavender, you will actually find that you can cook with this herb as well. Edible flowers are becoming more popular in some of the upscale restaurants around the world today. Not only will it help to enhance the flavor, but it also enhances the appearance of many dishes as well. Here is a closer look at cooking with lavender and an easy recipe you can make with this great herb as well.
A Bit of History
Lavender has been a variety popular herb for hundreds of years. Use of this herb has actually been documented back more than 2500 years ago. At one time, it was used for perfume and mummification by the ancient Egyptians. The English Lavender that we know about today was not around until the 1600s and it was not even developed in England either. It was Queen Victoria that would make it so popular in England. It was even used during World War I to help bath the wounds of soldiers. Even today, the French allow their baby lambs to graze in the lavender fields, which are supposed to make their meat fragrant and very tender.
Cooking with Lavender
When it comes to cooking with lavender, you will want to only use about 1/3 of dried lavender as opposed to fresh lavender. Just remember, if you add too much to a recipe, it can make the dish very better. A little can go a long way, since this is a very strong herb.
One of the benefits of cooking with lavender is that it adds great color to many dishes. In bread recipes, you can often substitute it in for rosemary. Another option is to seal sugar in a bag together with some lavender flowers. After a couple weeks, use the sugar in desserts for a special flavor. The lavender flowers make a great garnish that will look lovely on the table.
Harvesting the flowers correctly is important. Go with those that are in full color. If they are wilted, avoid using them. Make sure you rinse the blooms before every using them while you are cooking. If you harvest a lot of lavender at one time, drying it is a great option.
Lavender White Truffle Crostini Recipe
- 1/2 cup of black olive paste if you cannot find paste, process green and black olives until smooth and use instead of paste
- 8 slices of Italian style bread 1/2 thick
- 1/2 teaspoon of lavender flowers
- 1 teaspoon of white truffle oil
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the slices of bread on a baking sheet. Bake in oven for 5-6 minutes or until they are lightly toasted. In a mini processor or a bowl, mash your olive paste, lavender flowers, and the truffle oil until combined. Spread this on the bread while it is still warm and serve right away.
Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL: http://www.recipepublishingnetwork.net
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