I love lavender. It is one of my favorite herbs. Its smell is intoxicating. And its color so vivid. I would never have thought to cook with it or make anything other than lavender sugar. Well, you are in for a treat since I enlisted my blogging friends to share some of their favorite lavender uses in cooking and homemade recipes.
Every year, I harvest the lavender. I own about 15 plants of different types of lavender. The color of the flowers ranges from dark purple to a light blue. Even the stems smell delicious.
This year, I am adding to my collection by growing English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) from seed Currently, I have four little pots.
I do love lavender. So have many people from centuries.
History of Lavender:
According to North Carolina State, in Egypt, lavender was used as a perfume and essential ingredient to incense. Both the Romans and Greeks used lavender as one of their favorite ingredients for herbal baths.
In the Middle Ages, it was used as an aphrodisiac.
Due to its antibacterial properties, lavender was strewn over the floors and in sickrooms. During war times, it was used to disinfect wounds.
Other historical uses of lavender include curing animals of lice, embalming, taming lions and tigers, and repelling mosquitoes.
But lavender has also been used in cooking as well.
Favorite Lavender Uses:
French cooking expert Rebecca Franklin suggests pairing lavender with sweet or savory foods such as strawberries, blueberries, chocolate, and pears. She further suggests using lavender with black pepper, rosemary, thyme, or oregano.
She warns a little lavender goes a long way so use sparingly. If you use too much, the dish might become soapy tasting.
“When cooking with dried lavender, reduce the amount by 2/3 if the recipe calls for fresh buds. Example: 1/2 teaspoon dried = 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh,” she suggests.
Remember always to use organically grown lavender or lavender you grow yourself. Store bought lavender might contain pesticides.
Before you use any herb be sure to check with your doctor. The University of Maryland Medical Center states
“A number of studies have reported that lavender essential oil may be beneficial in a variety of conditions, including insomnia, alopecia (hair loss), anxiety, stress, and postoperative pain. However, most of these studies have been small. Lavender is also being studied for antibacterial and antiviral properties. Lavender oil is often used in other forms of integrative medicine, such as massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic manipulation.”
However, the Medical Center warns some people can be allergic to lavender. Some have reported feeling nauseous, headaches, and chills that inhaled or absorbed lavender through their skin. Furthermore, lavender promotes relaxation so it may affect depression, pain, and anti-anxiety medicine as well as sedatives. As I mentioned above, check with your doctor before using any herb.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should avoid using lavender.
For more information about the medicinal properties of lavender, check out the Holistic Health Herbalist’s post.
Lavender Food Recipes:
Want to try your hand at making some delicious lavender based dishes? Listed below are some recipes to get you started.
Paul of Thoughtful Cave Dad suggests the following recipe:
“Roasted carrots with cardamom and lavender. Fill a sheet pan with 1″ pieces of carrot (about 6 carrots), quarter of an onion and toss with carrots, drizzle with olive or avocado oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper (about 1/2 tsp each) and 1 tsp cardamom and 1 tsp lavender. Roast 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 – 15 until slightly browned.”
Here are some other recipes to try:
Lavender Honey from Studio Botanica
Decadent Lavender Infused CocoaBrownies from Studio Botanica
Lavender Honey Mint Ice Cream (AIP diet acceptable) from Sweet Potatoes and Social Change
Sweet Summer Lavender Peach Ice Tea from Sensibly Sustainable.
Lavender Creme Fraiche Ice Cream with Honey with a Dairy Free Alternative by Eat Beautiful. (Pictured above.)
Blueberry Lavender Galette by A Cookie Named Desire.
Lavender Ice Cream –Dairy Free by Nourishing Simplicity
Crystallizing Lavender by Dairy of a First Child.
Honey Lavender Almond Butter by Gluten Free Indie.
Honey Herb Salmon Fillets with Lavender by Diana Rafftray of About.com
Lavender Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies with Orange Marmalade by Glue and Glitter
Simple Syrup Recipe: Lavender Simple Syrup by Glue and Glitter
Kahlua and Cream with a Lavender Twist by Glue and Glitter
Lavender Russian Tea Cakes by the Holistic Health Herbalist
Lavender Sugar Recipe by Lazy Budget Chef
DIY personal care products
How about making your own homemade lavender based products? Listed below are some ideas to get you started.
DIY Herbal Scrub by Naturally Loriel.
Better than Kisses To Go Healing Balm by Naturally Loriel. (Pictured above.)
DIY Antimicrobial Cleaner Vinegar–Four Thieves by It Takes Time.
Homemade Lavender Sachets by Oh the Things We Make.
How to Make Dryer Balls with Socks without their Partners–(Use flax and lavender) by Dr. Karen Lee.
Five Use for Lavender Vinegar by the Nerdy Wife.
Herbal DIY Scouring Powder by Scratch Mommy.
Lavender Aromatherapy Dough for Natural Stress Relief by Turning the Clock Back.
Where to Buy Dried Lavender:
I thought you would never ask. As I mention, I harvest lavender from my garden and dry it in my home. The top picture is my lavender.
You can buy lavender HERE at Anna Lee Herbs. (Be sure to check out my other herbs as well.)
Consider making one of the culinary or DIY recipes above. There is nothing like the smell of lavender.
Join the Conversation:
Do you use lavender?