The class took place at the Barn Owl Nursery, where, because of a pretty intense rain/wind storm the day before, the power was still out. So we all huddled together in Chris’ drying room with her pellet stove blazing and the sound of the generator in the background, and on a cloudy cool day in April, our culinary horizons were expanded.
Recipe: Combine lavender buds and hot water. That’s it.
We were given 5 different lavender varieties to try for this part of the class, and I was quite surprised at the differences in flavor -- from the subtly sweet Royal Velvet to the more camphorous Provence. The Melissa variety, which one participate described as “soft” tasting was the favorite of many. Imperial Gem was my favorite-- it had a very pleasantly sweet taste, not too subtle and not too strong.
We were able to make our own herbal tea blends later on by adding herbs such as chamomile, rose petals or lemon balm, to our lavender. And I know from experience that a little lavender added to Earl Grey or Black Tea is also delicious.
The biggest take-away from this part of the class -- choose the right lavender to cook with. The lavenders that are so great in soaps and lotions aren’t so great in the kitchen. The best culinary lavenders are generally the Lavandula angustifolias -- such as the Folgate, Royal Velvet, Imperial Gem, and Melissa that we tried.
Lavender Herb blend:
This recipe is similar to a traditional herbes de Provence blend. Try substituting different culinary lavenders, herbs and spices to create your own blend. Use this Lavender Herb Blend as a salt-free seasoning to flavor a variety of savory foods or use this blend to make a dip, marinade, rub, spread, vinaigrette, or vinegar.
2T culinary lavender buds, dried whole
1T thyme, dried and cut
1T Sweet basil leaves, dried and cut
1T Summer or winter savory, dried and cut
Grind herbs together in a non-metallic grinder when ready to use. Makes 5 T. The shelf life for this dried blend is 1 year
One of my favorites is still lavender lemon sandies. Below is my recipe if you want to give it a try:
Gluten-free lemon lavender sandies
- ½ cup butter
- ⅕ cup sugar
- 1-2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped lavender buds (perhaps use a coffee grinder)
- 1 and ⅓ c gluten-free flour
- powdered sugar
Note: this can obviously be made with regular ol' flour as well...just wanted to try the gluten free version myself.
As we plan our fields for Little Lavender Farm, Dundee, I am excited to add more of the culinary lavender into our varieties. And while I am waiting for the lavender to grow, you can be sure that I will be busy in my kitchen, trying out new recipes. And I will be sure to post the best ones here.