From growing your own lavender to harvesting fresh blooms, drying bunches and crafting cooking with lavender is to nurture. And a little knowledge about Lavender at its best for cooking, will give you subtle flavours that will delight your taste buds.
Selecting the best variety for cooking is down to your own tastes. Lavender varies in the potency and flavour of each individual variety. True English Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), has the sweetest fragrance of all lavenders and is the most commonly used for cooking. Within the varieties of English Lavender the flavours will vary from sweet, citrusy or spicy.
The family off Lavandins are menthol, spicy with hint of sweetness in flavour. If too much is used it can taste antiseptic, but small amounts can add fresh delicate minty and spicy flavours to
Harvesting your lavender for cooking is best when the flowers on the bloom are one third open and will have a gentler subtle flavour. Harvesting when the blooms when two thirds of the flowers are
will give a much more robust and spicier flavour. It is important to note that the potency of the flowers
and buds increase with drying. In cooking, use one third of the quantity of dried flowers to fresh.
Grinding dried buds into a powder will store well and make the food much more palatable, especially in sponge cakes. Be careful, if you grind lavender buds into a powder with an electrical
liquidizer, the buds are full of oil, can get hot and burst into flames. Store dried buds or ground lavender in a dark cool place
in an amber jar or air tight container.
Lavender is a strong herb that can easily over-flavour a recipe, unless used sparingly. When you begin to experiment cooking with lavender, use it as a background flavour. In any instance start experimenting with smaller amounts, 0.5gm-1gm, until you find the strength of flavour you enjoy.
A deliciously simple and easy way to start is with scrambled eggs. Whisk eggs, milk, and a pinch of ground Lavender. In a saucepan melt a knob of butter, add the whisked ingredients and scramble over a low heat.
Lavender can add a hearty flavour to roasted meats. Using a basic recipe for a savoury blend known as ‘Herbs de Provence’ and every experienced cook has a different recipe. Experiment with your favourite herbs and proportions that suit your own palate best. To start you off, a combination of delicious herbs you might like to try:
All herbs should be dried and coarsely crumbled. Mix well together and store in a dark cool place,
in an amber jar or airtight container.
Soups and sauces
You can add Lavender to your favourite soup or sauce recipes, from a basic tomato, onion, carrot, squash, mixed vegetable or broths, by adding a pinch or more of ground dried lavender or fresh flowers sprinkled on top as a garnish, before serving.
Breads, cakes and biscuits
Sweet recipes are just made for lavender and can be used with almost any of your favourite recipes, whether it is cakes, pies, biscuits or breads.
Use a basic recipe for shortbread, biscuits, sponge cakes, fruit cakes, scones, glazes on cakes, custards, cheesecakes and to flavour whipping cream by adding 0.5gm - 1gm of ground lavender.
Vanilla and lavender are the perfect combination for homemade ice cream, refreshing fruit gilato and sorbets are begging to be flavoured with lavender. Lavender also adds a beautiful delicate
to sweet foods with its petite flowers from the blooms.
Whether you make savoury or sweet preserve, ground lavender or buds will be a joyous compliment
to chutneys, jams and jellies.
A simple lavender tea, using a tea ball is great for infusing any herbs in hot water. 1 teaspoon of fresh flowers, or half a teaspoon of dried flower buds steeped in hot water for a few moments or longer will calm and aid a peaceful nights sleep.
Lavender is a wonderful companion to honey. Thousands of bees visiting Suffolk Lavender farm throughout summer gorging themselves into a drunken stupor, on the sweet lavender nectar, confirm this.
In a tea ball or cheesecloth bag, infuse in the hot water with the honey and lemon. Adding lavender buds to warming honey and lemon winter ailment drink, soothes the throat and adds a boost to the antiseptic qualities of lemon and honey.
Lavender lemonade, refreshing summer fruit drinks, or even alcohols, wines, or beers can add very interesting fragrant flavours for you to experiment with your favourite tipple!
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