Friday, July 17, 2009

Lavender's Blue, Lavender's Green



Lavender's blue, dilly dilly, lavender's green,
When I am king, dilly, dilly, you shall be queen.
Who told you so, dilly, dilly, who told you so?
'Twas my own heart, dilly, dilly, that told me so.

Call up your men, dilly, dilly, set them to work
Some with a rake, dilly, dilly, some with a fork.
Some to make hay, dilly, dilly, some to thresh corn.
While you and I, dilly, dilly, keep ourselves warm.



The home food preserver's kitchen is currently fragrant with the delicate scent of lavender. That's my take on it, although husband has been lifting sprigs from the counters, moving them from place to place and muttering while he looks for whatever it is he's having trouble finding.

I guess it's a matter of point of view and perspective.
I see the possibilities, he sees a mess.
I see lavender sugar, lavender sachets, and lavender roasts. He sees a mess.

Working with food is not necessarily a neat occupation. I have fond memories of Julia Child's television kitchen and her happy clutter. Today, however, it's time to clear some space and deal with the lavender before it takes root.

Consider the Possibilities

What to do with lavender? There are so many options. Lavender is a member of the mint family, so that should give you some ideas for using it as a seasoning. Go easy, however. Less is more, when you're working with this flower.


Here are some ideas to get you started:


Cakes and cookies and other baked goods

Add 1 Tbsp. crushed lavender buds to your favorite cake or cookie recipe. Chocolate and lavender go quite well together.

Lavender Jelly (makes 8 4-oz. jars)This is Master Gardener Madeline Wajda's recipe.

2 1/4 cups apple juice
1 cup fresh lavender flowers (1/2 C dried)
3 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. butter
3 oz. liquid pectin

Combine apple juice and lavender flowers. Bring to boiling, turn off heat, steep 15 minutes, strain. Add butter to 2 C juice infusion and make jelly, following directions on pectin package (http://www.emmitsburg.net/gardens/articles/adams/2003/culinary_uses_for_lavender.htm).


Lavender Sugar
This is nice to add to frostings, whipped cream, and other desserts. Combine 2 Tbsp. crushed lavender buds and 1 cup sugar. Mix well and store in airtight container.

Lavender Roast
Coat a beef or lamb roast with a layer of crushed lavender buds before placing in the oven.

This picture of a lovely roast ready for the oven comes to us courtesy of Frieda Babbley.




You can find her at http://hubpages.com/hub/Lavender-and-Roast-Beef-Food-and-Recipes. Thanks, Frieda!

What are your favorite culinary uses for lavender?

9 comments:

  1. The three lavender plants I bought last year are doing great so your timing is awesome. I've never used lavender in cooking, though, so that will be a new experience. I do remember a recipe (for scones, I think) in one of the mysteries I've read (maybe Susan Wittig Albert since her protagonist grows herbs?). Now I'm wondering if lavender would complement the banana in my favorite muffin recipe.

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  2. Worth a try. I love Susan's work. She's my herb heroine.

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  3. I love lavendar cachets. Some day you should come to Albuquerque for the Lavendar Festival. It's a wonderful event.
    Karen

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  4. We should plan on that. Washington state has a ton of lavender farms - the Sequim and laConner areas especially. You need to come up here too!

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  5. Wow...I didn't even know lavender was edible! I love the way it smells and have lavender sachets, soaps, and lotions.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  6. I've got all that stuff too. My entire bed/bath reminds me of an English garden.

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  7. I always learn so much on your blog - I never knew lavender was so versatile! These recipes sound wonderful!

    Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

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  8. Wow, I didn't know you can use Lavender in so many different ways. Thanks for the tips.

    Bargain with the Devil

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  9. OOO this is SUCH a practical post -- Right up your alley. Before reading this, I couldn't have told you one thing to do with lavender!

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~ I'm the author of Headwind: The Intrepid Adventures of OSS Agent Katrin Nissen. If you're a WWII buff, you'll like it here!