July 13, 2017

Lavender in the Kitchen

On the Menu Today~
Lavender in the Kitchen
Photo Credit: Pinterest
Lavender is historically known as the "herb of love," lavender is a relative of mint.
This aromatic plant has violet flowers and green or pale gray leaves both of which
add a pleasant pungency to salad, rubs for poultry and fish,
and in spice blends, such as herbs de provence. The leaves can also be used to
make tea. You can find culinary lavender in natural food stores and 
in some produce sections of larger grocery store.

Photo Credit: Pinterest
The Largest Lavender Farm,
in the Midwest, calls Washington Island, 
located in Door County WI, home.

Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm and Shop  currently has over 16,000 plants and 48
different varieties of lavender growing, including white and pink lavender. More than
5,000 people come for the lavender festival alone in late July.

This fragrant, easy-growing herb is famous for scenting soap and
long ago in sachet pouches, to scent dresser drawers. 
When used with a light touch,
lavender adds a sweet, almost rosemary-like flavor to summer recipes.
Harvest lavender flowers before they are fully open. 
Hang stems upside down in a dark area. 
Remove buds when dry and
use in a variety of ways.
Photo Credit: Pinterest
Beneath lavender's sweet facade is a tough,
drought-tolerant perennial that is every gardener's' dream. 
Silvery foliage extents the beauty long after flowering.

Lavender is most famously cultivated in sweeping fields in the South of France, 
where it turns the summer landscape into a patchwork of purple. 
But you don't have to travel to Provence France to enjoy lavender.

Photo Credit: Turnips 2 Tangerines
English lavenders are the hardiest (Zones 5-9) 
and are the earliest to bloom, 
with dark blue or purple flowers. 
Lavandin types are hybrids of English lavender, 
prized for their long stems and intensely fragrant flowers. 

French lavender has narrow, serrated leaves. 
Flowers emit a camphor-like fragrance. 
French and Spanish lavender,
sport distinctive flourishes of petals that resemble tiny butterflies at the tops of flowers. 
Both Spanish and French types are tender perennials, hardy in Zones 7-9. 
They also tolerate humidity, making them good picks for Southern gardens.

Photo Credit: Turnips 2 Tangerines
Heat-loving lavender prefers well-drained soil,
in a spot that receives eight hours of full sun each day. 
A light-color mulch of gravel or oyster shells 
gives a reflective boost to these sun seekers.
It also drains moisture, a common cause of crown rot away from the bases of plants. 

Combine lavender with other drought-tolerant species,
such as yarrow, coreopsis, and coneflower, 
that don't require regular watering once established. 
There's no need to fertilize,
as these tough plants do best in lean soil. 
Remove deadwood in early spring and 
shape after flowering by shearing back new growth by a third.

Photo Credit: Turnips 2 Tangerines
From small to tall, 
there are more than 450 varieties of lavender.
Here are some popular varieties:
'GROSSO' This French type is one of the most fragrant. Tall stems are dramatic in bouquets.
'HANA ALBA' Pure white flowers on this dwarf English type appear luminescent in pots.
'LULLABY BLUE' Compact plants bear tall flower spikes in midsummer. Try this sweet-scented, English species in a big pot on patio.
'IMPERIAL GEM' Clusters of lasting deep blue flowers in midsummer make this English lavender a top choice for fresh and dried flower arrangements. 
'MADRID BLUE' An early-blooming Spanish type, with perky white tuffs over purple-blue flowers.
'OTTO QUAST' Another Spanish-type with tidy, gray-green foliage and a top hat of winged petals. Snip back after flowering for rebloom.

Nature's Cue: 
Bees arrive when flowers are at their freshest and 
most fragrant, a sign that it's time to harvest. 
All lavenders are edible. 
Popular culinary types include:
 'Melissa', 'Hidcote', 'Folgate', 'Royal Velvet', and 'Munstead'

Classic Flavors:
Lavender is one of the Mediterranean plants in Herbs de Provence, 
a mix of dried herbs for seasoning.

herbes de Provence [EHRB-duh-proh-VAWNS]
An assortment of dried herbs said to reflect those most commonly used in southern France.
This blend can be found in the spice section of large supermarkets.
The mixture commonly contains basil, fennel seed, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, summer savory and thyme. The blend can be used to season dishes of meat, poultry and vegetables.
Also good with game meat, such as duck, quail or venison.
Photo Credit: Pinterest
herbes de Provence

  • 3 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried savory
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender buds or flowers
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine herbs, and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Photo Credit: Pinterest
Lavender Rub

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or dried lavender buds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix ingredients.
  2. Rub onto chicken breasts or pork tenderloin before grilling or roasting.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Lavender Syrup

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup fresh lavender buds OR
  • 1/2 cup dried lavender buds
Cooking Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan heat sugar and water, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add lavender buds. Pour into a bowl; cover. Let stand 2 to 24 hours. Strain off lavender. Chill up to 2 weeks. Swirl syrup in iced tea, or spring cocktails.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Lavender Butter

  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons minced fresh lavender buds or dried lavender buds
Cooking Directions
  1. Mash together the butter and lavender buds.
  2. Smear butter on warm biscuits, scones, or toast.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Lavender Sugar

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh or dried lavender buds
Cooking Directions
  1. Pour sugar in a quart glass jar. Toss in fresh or dried lavender buds; Cover and shake. Let sit on the counter a few weeks, shaking occasionally. Sprinkle over fresh fruit or swap for regular sugar in shortbread or sugar cookies.
Lavender, Syrup, Butter, Spices
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