This herb has also been used as a remedy for a range of ailments from insomnia and anxiety to depression and fatigue. Research has confirmed that lavender produces slight calming, soothing, and sedative effects when its scent is inhaled. Which is probably why lavender is such a popular fragrance in soaps, perfumes and potpourri mixtures.
Lately I've noticed more and more recipes are using lavender as an ingredient. I was also surprised to find it listed as an ingredient in Herbes de Provence. Everyone seems to have a different idea about lavender's flavor. It has been variously described as sweet, floral or lemony. I personally found it to be slightly floral and kind of woodsy. If you're going to give lavender a try in the kitchen, be sure (Unless you're fortunate enough to have it growing in your garden!) to buy culinary lavender.
And how would you use it, you ask? Here are some ideas:
- Use lavender as a substitute for thyme or marjoram.
- Lavender can also be substituted for rosemary in many bread recipes.
- The flowers can be put in sugar and sealed tightly for a couple of weeks then the sugar can be substituted for ordinary sugar for a cake, buns or custards.
Did I forget to mention using lavender in drinks?
How about lavender lemonade?
Or place sprigs of lavender into a gin bottle and put the bottle in the freezer for summer drinks. The combination of gin and lavender make an absolutely fabulous gin and tonic!
Or try a sprig of lavender in a martini with a twist of lemon.
Recently Susan of Savoring Time in the Kitchen posted a recipe for Lavender-Lemon Pound Cake. Sounds delicious. I haven't made it yet, but I'm going to.
I've never experimented with lavender so I thought I'd begin with this caramel sauce. I adore anything caramel and the best caramels I have ever eaten had fleur de sel sprinkled on top. Sounded like a great way for me to start; besides, how could this sauce be anything other than fabulous? And it is. Fabulous. Rich, delightful and I can think of lots of things to pour it over, but vanilla ice cream is my favorite. It makes a super hostess gift or keep it in your fridge, reheat and use when you need that perfect finishing touch to your dessert. Like over a piece of angel food cake or even bread pudding.....drool.
Do you have any recipes using lavender as an ingredient?
Lavender Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce
Martha Stewart Living Magazine, February 2010
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon dried lavender
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
Heat the sugar and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves, 3 to 4 minutes. Bring to a boil and cook, washing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming, until it is mediuim amber, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the heavy cream. Return to heat and cook, stirring until well combined. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, lavender and salt. Stir until combined and set aside for 15 minutes. Strain. Makes about 1-1/4 cups. Will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Here are some good links on cooking with lavender: