Lavandula (common name lavender) is a genus of 47 known species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. Lavender is a plant that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and cosmetics. The most widely cultivated species, Lavandula angustifolia ( often just referred to as lavender ) and is also a color, named after the shade of the flowers of this species. In this blog post, we will explore the many culinary uses of lavender.
How to prepare lavender for culinary use:
You can eat all parts of lavender straight from the garden raw if you desire. Most people do not consume lavender this way as its flavor is strong and can be quite bitter. However, when prepared properly, it's truly magnificent and can be compared to flavorful herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage, and oregano.
How to prepare lavender for savory dishes:
To use lavender in savory dishes, try using dried lavender leaves or stems instead of the flowers. Hang your freshly trimmed lavender from its stem upside down like you would drying other flowers or herbs. Most of the flavor from lavender comes directly from the leaves, so use very sparingly.
How to prepare lavender for sweet dishes:
Lavender goes well with fruits like oranges, lemons, berries, and stone fruit. We fell in love with this Lavender Apricot Cake and Lavender Peach Pie. It is a perfect complement to raw honey and lemons, which is why lavender, lemon, and honey combinations are so popular. We love this combination in our Lavender Lemon Honey Bars and Lavender Honey Bees Knees Cocktail. Don't forget to pair it with other citrus for a unique and unforgettable experience. Lavender is also a very popular flavor in drinks and cocktails. When turned into a syrup, it makes an excellent sweetener in just about anything. And last but not least, don't forget that lavender can also be used directly in baking and frozen treats! Our readers swear by our Lavender Honey Ice cream. Some of our favorite recipes that feature lavender are these Lavender Shortbread Cookies and this Lavender Earl Grey Cake.
How to prepare lavender tea:
Lavender is most commonly prepared and consumed in tea or tea blends. Lavender is also becoming very popular in Lavender Iced Coffee and Lavender Lattes. You can see it highlighted in our Lavender London fog latte and comprehensive post about The Best Flowers For Tea.
How to brew lavender tea:
- Boil 8 oz. of water.
- Place 4 tsp. of fresh lavender buds into a tea ball or sachet.
- Place the tea ball and water into a teacup.
- Let steep for 3-5 minutes.
- Optionally add lavender infused honey, a lavender sugar cube, or some lavender milk.
How else can you consume lavender?
Here are some more simple way to enjoy lavender.
- Add lavender flowers to sugar cookies or shortbread for a lovely floral flavor. Be sure to remove the stems before adding the flowers to your dough.
- For savory dishes, try adding a pinch of dried lavender to your favorite roast chicken recipe. The herb will add a subtle flavor that pairs well with the chicken's natural flavors.
- Use lavender sugar or honey in tea or coffee for a delightful floral twist on your morning cup of joe. Or, try making lavender lemonade by adding a few drops of lavender infused honey to your favorite recipe.
- Make a batch of lavender-infused olive oil by adding a few sprigs of fresh lavender to a glass jar filled with extra virgin olive oil. Allow the mixture to sit for at least 24 hours before using it in recipes.
- Create an herbed salt by mixing equal parts dried lavender and kosher salt. Use it as you would any other type of salt - on roasted vegetables, grilled meats, etc.
What happens if you eat lavender:
Lavender is not dangerous and is actually quite beneficial to consume! Lavender has been shown to have antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral properties. It has also been used to treat anxiety, insomnia and promote calmness for a restful sleep.