Although when lavender is mentioned visions of sweet smelling cachets, perfumes and oils come to mind, lavender is an herb and a very tasty one at that. The use of the lavender herb as an aromatic or medicinal herb has been common throughout history.
Recipes for healing and perfumes were passed on through the generations in written documentation or oral lessons on usage and applications of this very aromatic herb. In early history, the lavender herb was only grown by royal families and in monasteries. Tutankhamen’s tomb is said to have jars of a mixture that smells like lavender and during that time period lavender was used in embalming methods. However, let’s consider using this fragrant herb for culinary purposes.
Lavender (Lavandula) is a member of the mint family and can easily be substituted for rosemary in recipes. Usually the leaves and the flowers of the bush are used as the stems can be hard and woody. The lavender herb may be brewed into a tea to alleviate headaches, relieve stress and depression and aid in sleep. Drinking a cup of lavender tea before bed can be very beneficial.
In culinary applications usually just the buds and flowers are used adding a bit of a sweet and elegant flavor to dishes. Lavender syrup made by boiling water, sugar and lavender flowers may be used in ice teas, lemonades, mixed with fresh berries or poured over cakes. The lavender herb added to butter creates a delightful topping for biscuits or sweet breads. Lavender may also be added to scone, coffee cake, pound cake for a sweet flavor, or in potato, meat and eggs dishes for a more elegant taste. Paired with a goat cheese, the lavender herb will add a new dimension of flavor. There are also many external uses for lavender, including extracting oils for perfumes, natural mosquito repellent and was even used during war time to dress wounds. Lavender is difficult to cultivate indoors, but drying the lavender herb for storage will keep plenty on hand for culinary purposes. Lavender is an excellent herb to grow in an herb garden, not only for the beautiful fragrance – but also for its many uses, so experiment – create your own culinary delights!
Sandra – secretstogrowingherbs
Photo. Rita E.