True Lavender – Uses in Garden and Kitchen

Lavendula
© GPP / Downderry

We love true lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) most of all because of its intoxicating scent. If you've got lavender in your garden or on your balcony, you can enjoy more than just its beauty and scent. The plant is also great as a culinary herb. Try it for yourself!

Whether it's in sweet or savory dishes, lavender can turn many dishes into a special culinary experience. True lavender has an aroma that's herby and slightly bitter and is similar to how rosemary tastes. Fresh and dried flowers as well as young leaves can be used for different things in the kitchen.

To dry the flower stalks, cut them, secure them in a bundle, and let them hang in a dark area with lots of air circulation. The dried herb will maintain its aroma for a long time if stored in a dark glass jar with a screw-on lid. A rub made of the leaves goes well with strong dishes, such as brats, fish, and stews. Lavender tastes great with mold cheese such as roquefort, as well as sheep and goats milk cheeses.

The aromatic flowers lend a gentle note to desserts, baked goods, ice cream, and marmalade. Lavender flowers can also be used to decorate dishes because they have such a wonderful color. For this, you needn't use the entire flower stalk. It might look pretty, but it's actually quite woody and is not edible. If the sepals are removed, the flowers become a wonderfully tasty garnish that leaves behind decorative trace of color on the dish.

When used with vinegar, oil, salt, and sugar, lavender's taste can be delicately captured and can be used to refine dishes easily. To make scented sugar or salt, mix in lavender flowers in a glass jar with a screw-on lid and fill it. After two or three weeks, the salt or sugar will have taken on the taste of lavender and the flowers can be strained out.

For a bit of Mediterranean flair in vinegar or oil, add freshly cut lavender spikes to the bottle and fill it with fluids. It's best to keep the container in a dark place for the next three to four weeks.Although gardens certainly benefit from lots of lavender, be sure to use it sparingly in the kitchen. Use just a little too much and its powerful aroma will make the dish taste soapy or bitter. But once you've tried it and realized just how true lavender can enrich your cooking, you won't want to be without it in your garden, on your balcony, or in the kitchen.

Submitted by: 
greenduck

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