Most of us know that Lavender is an essential oil that helps with physical and emotional wellbeing with ailments ranging from insomnia to muscle aches and pains, and even touted as an antibacterial and antiviral. But, did you know that it is also a great addition to any cuisine? Which, by the way, is loaded with lots of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutritional benefits.
As a culinary herb, lavender is a wonderful companion to many food dishes. It's floral and slightly sweet flavor makes it quite versatile in cooking. The dried buds, also called flowers, can be added to meats, salads, dressings and condiments, not to mention, added to cheeses. Lavender is great in baked goods as well. It can be combined with chocolate, candied to make edible decorations and blended with sugar to create a unique flavor.
It is best to choose herbs that are organic to avoid pesticides and chemicals. The flowers should be brightly colored and tightly closed. To retain it's flavor and aroma, it should be kept in a tightly sealed container, away from heat and moisture. It can easily be grown in hot, dry places and hung to dry for later usage. Or, you can use the essential oil version, which may be more convenient and has a higher concentration to add flavor to any dish.
Eating lavender and other edible flowers is not a new trend, but actually a very old custom. So, enjoy the scent and beauty of lavender, not only in your garden, but also in your plate!
Here is a great recipe to try:
Lavender Tea Cookies
1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender flowers
1 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
In a mortar, grind lavender flowers with the pestle.
In a medium bowl, cream together ground lavender flowers, butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon extract.
Add flour and salt; mix until combined (dough should be soft but not sticky.)
Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until dough is firm.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Remove dough from refrigerator.
On a lightly-floured surface, roll dough approximately 1/4-inch thick with your rolling pin.
Cut into desired shapes with your favorite cookie cutters and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges.
Remove from oven and cool on wire cooling racks.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.
Another great recipe to try:
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Lavender and Mint
Combine marinade ingredients. Coat pork evenly; marinate in refrigerator overnight. Drain and season pork. In vegetable oil in heavy pan sear pork on all sides. Transfer to oven pan and bake at 425F for 15-25 minutes until done; the meat can also be finished on the grill. Let rest a few minutes covered with foil before slicing and serving. Serves 6.
1/2 tsp. dried herb leaves = 1.5 tsp. (1/2 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp. fresh herb = 1/4 tsp.
1/2 tsp. powdered herb = 1 drop essential oil