Culinary Lavender: 5 Simple Methods October 17, 2017 08:44
Culinary Lavender: 5 Simple Methods
As a hardcore Lavender lover, I've always been a fan of almost anything related to this versatile and beautiful herb. I love Lavender's fragrance, its appearance, and its many amazing healing properties. One place where I never saw much Lavender until recently, however, was on my dinner plate. From my interest in the Food Network, I knew it could be use in fancy baked goods like macaroons, but I've never really been a baker (macaroons are therefore a distant dream of mine).
However, over the past few years I've begun to notice more recipes that use Lavender in a variety of ways. The addition of Lavender to savory recipes automatically gives dishes a sophisticated flair that makes them seem suspiciously gourmet…
But is cooking with Lavender really all that complicated?
On a quest to discover ways to cook with Lavender at home, I've found 5 surprisingly easy methods to share with you all!
Before we get into the list, however, let's talk quickly about the type of Lavender you should be using when you cook. You may have already heard that "culinary Lavender" is recommended in the kitchen, but you may have some questions about what defines culinary Lavender (I did). Questions like: Do I have to buy it at a health food store? (And, for you dramatic folks) Will eating other types of Lavender kill me????
First of all, eating non-culinary Lavender buds is not going to make you sick. However, some varieties of Lavender have a higher camphor content which makes the buds taste bitter. Typically, Lavandula Angustifolia (English or True Lavender) buds are recommended for culinary Lavender because of this variety's sweet, softly floral taste. Culinary Lavender buds are also specially processed, dried, and stored to make them optimal for your cooking experience.
So what about cooking with Lavender oil? While use of essential oil in cooking can be a very effective way to inject a strong flavor into your dishes, it is also very easy to overdo it. The floral, spicy taste of Lavender is a good complement to many foods, but moderation is required or Lavender will easily overpower other flavors. Because essential oils are so concentrated that they are actually medicinal, we only recommend the use of Lavender EO in cooking when making very large batches and following a recipe. For instance, our yummy Honey-Lavender Lemonade Recipe uses just 1 drop of Bee Pure essential oil for 12 servings of lemonade!
For these reasons, using culinary Lavender is really the easiest, tastiest way to inject this herb's flavor into your cooking most of the time. That being said, here are 5 ridiculously simple ways you can use culinary Lavender in your kitchen!
1. Herbes de Provence
"Herbes de Provence" is a fancy way of saying "herbs that grow in the Provence region of France." Because of this, there are a variety of dried different herbs you can select for your "Herbes de Provence." Customize your own unique blend based on your taste preferences and how you think you will use your Herbes de Provence the most. Some great choices for herbs to include are: Rosemary, Fennel, Oregano, Basil and (of course) Lavender. It's easy to gather together your favorite herbs, mix them well, and store them in an airtight container for future use. Check out this recipe for some more ideas on what to include! Herbes de Provence is a delicious seasoning to use on any kind of meat, as part of a sauce or vinaigrette, or even over pasta!
2. Smoked Over Coals
Do you like grilling? Next time you are grilling meat over some hot coals, soak some fresh cut Lavender stalks (any variety is okay for this particular method) in water and lay them over the hot coals. The smoke will inject a mild Lavender flavor into the meats as they cook. This would be especially tasty for smoked salmon or chicken!
3. Put the Buds Straight into your Baked Goods
I already told you all that I'm not a baker, but some of you have "the power!" For those who love to whip up fresh bread and cookies, infusing your baked goods a little Lavender could not be easier. Simply add the culinary Lavender buds straight into your recipe! A fresh loaf of bread with Rosemary and Lavender mixed in is heavenly, and check out this delicious (and simple) recipe for Lemon Lavender Shortbread cookies!
4. Lavender Salt
Once you get used to having Lavender salt as a staple in your kitchen, you will never want to be without it. It's really as easy to make as it sounds. Simply combine 2 ½ teaspoons of chopped culinary Lavender buds with ½ cup of course sea salt. You can package it in a grinder or simply store it in a jar to use as a finishing salt. My favorite way to use this salt is on a roast chicken, but it's great on salmon and roasted vegetables, too.
5. A Simple Syrup
Sweet, simple syrups are versatile and handy additions in the kitchen. Luckily for Lavender-lovers (alliteration, much?), it's easy to create a Lavender simple syrup that you can use to create gourmet cocktails or fancy coffee treats. I love these recipes for Lavender simple syrup from thespruce.com because the page also links to several different cocktails you can make with the syrup!
Cooking with Lavender, especially culinary Lavender, is an art form that's not quite as intimidating as it may seem. Try these simple methods to impress your friends and bring your love for Lavender up to a whole new level!
What are some methods or recipes that you use to bring Lavender into your kitchen?