lavender in the kitchen
You wouldn't think lavender would be a good candidate in culinary endeavors, but it really has a pleasing fresh taste. Lavender buds and leaves can be added to salads. Flowers can be candied to decorate cakes and other delicacies, Use lavender in chicken recipes in place of rosemary for a new and unusual flavor. One of the best French combinations of herbs used on meats has lavender in it. It is Herbs de Provence and works well with beef, chicken, lamb and some fish.
Lavender Jelly is a beautiful condiment to be put on toast or crackers. It can also be served with lamb and other meat dishes.
- 2-1/4 c clear apple juice
- 1 c lavender flowers
- 3-1/2 c sugar
- 1/2 bottle (4oz) liquid pectin
- In a saucepan place apple juice and lavender buds and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from the heat. Let stand 15 minutes then strain.
- Return 2 cups of this juice to the heat, add sugar and stir constantly until it comes to a full boil.
- Stir in liquid pectin and bring to boil again, boiling for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat, skim foam and pour into jelly glasses with a sprig of lavender in each glass.
- After it cools, seal with paraffin.
Surprisingly, Lavender Cookies are a real treat. Many people think that they will taste like soap, but the sugar makes it so this delicacy is sweet and tasty.
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 c butter
- 1 c lavender sugar (see recipe below)
- 1 tsp lavender leaves (not the buds)
- 1-1/2 c flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Confectioner's Sugar for icing
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a blender put, in this order: eggs, butter, sugar, and lavender leaves. Run until mixed well.
- In a mixing bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add blended ingredients and stir well until blended. (You can use an electric mixer but you don't have to)
- Drop by teaspoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 8 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Place on racks to cool.
- Mix some Confectioner's Sugar with water to make a slightly runny icing. You may put a few drops of purple food coloring in it.
- Frost cookies with icing and let sit until icing hardens.
To Make Lavender Sugar:
- In a Mason jar place your sugar (1 c).
- Add 1/2 cup lavender buds, place the lid in place and seal, and shake to combine well.
- Place in a dark place and shake once or twice everyday for one week.
- Pass through a strainer or sifter to remove lavender buds. Your sugar will be lavender flavored. You can use this in any cake or cookie, even quick bread for an unusual flavor.
Now for a really "cool" lavender desert. This Lavender Sorbet is especially cooling on a warm day. The recipe is European so the measures are different than our American measures. I used a kitchen scale to measure the sugar and have a measuring cup with fluid ounces on it.
- 9 oz sugar
- 18 fluid oz water, divided
- 6 lavender heads
- 2 drops purple food coloring
- juice from one lemon
- In a saucepan stir the sugar into 8 oz of the water. Put on medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves.
- Add lavender heads (that would be the flowering spikes). Bring to a boil, remove from heat and add juice of half the lemon.
- Allow to cool.
- Strain liquid through a sieve to remove lavender and add remaining water.
- Taste to check sweetness and add more lemon juice if necessary.
- Add food coloring one drop at a time until you have a very light purple.
- Put in a freezer proof container and place in the freezer. Use a shallow container for best results.
- Wait for an hour or so, or until the mixture is just starting to freeze with crystals on it. Work quickly. Put the mixture in a blender and give it a quick process.
- Place back in container and put back into freezer.
- Repeat this process twice or more. This breaks up the ice crystals to give you a smooth and scoopable sorbet. You can also use an ice cream maker per manufacturer's instructions.
This next recipe is for the French Herbs de Provence that can be used on meats, poultry, and fish. You can buy it commercially but just in case you want to make it yourself, I have included the recipe.
- 1 tsp Thyme
- 1 tsp Summer Savory
- 1/2 tsp Lavender
- 1/4 tsp Rosemary
- 1/2 tsp Basil
- 1/4 tsp sage
- Combine and place in an airtight jar or container.
- Use per recipe directions.
Add Herbs de Provence should be added to a recipe the near the end as heat tends to make them loose their flavor.
As you can see lavender is a very versatile culinary herb.