In a previous post, I sang the praises of lavender. It is my favorite herb because of its wonderful scent and versatility. Here are some enjoyable uses for lavender flowers:
Wrap a handful of the dried lavender flowers in a square of light cloth, such as cheese cloth. This versatile sachet can be tucked into your pillowcase for a soothing night’s sleep, or tossed in your dryer to scent your clothing!
For a fun treat, add 1 tablespoon of dried culinary-grade lavender flowers to sugar cookie dough, then bake as usual.
For a delicious, soothing tea, place one heaping tablespoon of lavender flowers in a tea pot, then fill with boiling water. Let steep for about ten minutes.
Make lavender sugar by blending 1 cup of sugar with 2 tablespoons of culinary-grade lavender in a food processor 2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers. Store in an airtight container and enjoy in baking or beverages.
You can make lavender lemonade by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 2 tablespoons of dried lavender flowers, then steeping it for 10 minutes. Strain the flowers, and stir in 1 cup of sugar until it dissolves. Let the lavender/sugar mixture cool, then add the juice of 6 lemons (about 1 cup), and 4 cups of cold water. Serve over ice with a sprig of lavender!
The first time I visited a farmers market was when a friend took me to a huge one in San Francisco several years ago. I was in awe of the variety of products being offered. My favorite was a lavender stand featuring dried culinary-grade lavender, along with a variety of other lavender products. I was mesmerized by the deep, clean, delicious scent of the dark purple buds.
Lavender is an incredibly versatile flower with many health, cosmetic and culinary uses. In aromatherapy, lavender is a popular remedy for stress, as it has wonderful calming properties. It also has antiseptic and insect-repelling properties — try it instead of moth balls (does anyone use those anymore?)! Lavender is a wonderful addition to salads, soups and sweets. A couple of days ago, when the heat index hit 109 degrees farenheit, I headed over to my local chocolatier for their lavender-infused lemonade (see my easy recipe below), an incredibly refreshing drink.
Two years ago today, I had the opportunity to visit Sequim, Washington, the Lavender Capital of North America. It was just past season, so the pick-your-own farms were not open, but you could still drive around and see the many lavender-devoted farms. One farm, Purple Haze Lavender Farm, had a store in downtown Sequim that featured a variety of lavender products, including culinary-grade lavender. They have an excellent website with lots of lavender information, and a store featuring their many dried lavender products. I recommend their cookbook, a sampling of which is available on their website.