Beautiful, romantic lavender immediately evokes images of feathery purple flowers swaying in the wind in the European countryside. With a whimsical air and a multitude of applications, including aromatherapy, our favorite way to use this perennial herb is in our cooking.
Lavender is a member of the mint family and is related to rosemary, oregano and sage. With a sweet, floral flavor, it complements a wide range of both sweet and savory foods and pairs well with its relatives, as well as chocolate, lemon, orange and honey.
When cooking with lavender, it’s important to remember that a little goes a long way. Its aroma intensifies as it dries, and using too much lavender in any recipe will infuse an overpowering soapy taste into your dish.
Use lavender in baked goods, salad dressings, ice cream and in Provencal-style soups and stews. Make your own lavender sugar by combining 1 tablespoon of dried culinary lavender with 2 cups of granulated sugar. Store in an airtight container, and within a couple of weeks you’ll have lavender-infused sugar, perfect for adding to lemonade or sprinkling on sweets.
In savory application, lavender is often included in Herbs de Provence, a popular blend inspired by herbs commonly found in cuisine from Southern France. Use it as rub for roasted chicken or create an herbal French salad dressing.
Besides boasting a lovely aroma and taste, many people around the world use lavender as an antiseptic, an antidepressant and as treatment for insomnia and anxiety. It can be found in many wonderful herbal teas and can be applied to burns for relief.