I always have lavender growing in my permaculture garden. I love its colour & scent, its hardiness and the way it attracts bees. Lavender essential oil is one of the most widely used oils around the world for its calming properties. But, did you know that there are plenty of ways to eat the lavender you grow in your garden too?
Here are 5 ways to consume lavender as an edible herb. While you can use any lavender, I think the best type of lavender for cooking is any variety of L. angustifolia (English Lavender). This is the one with the smooth narrow (not indented) leaves.
|English lavender leaves look like this.|
The leaves, petals and flowering tips of lavender can be used raw in salad. You only need a little. Great taste and colour.
2. SOUP, PASTA OR STEW
The leaves, petals and flowering tips can also be added to soups, pasta sauces and stews. Again, remember, a little goes a long way. If you are using dried leaves, use a teaspoon (about 1/3 of the quantity) otherwise it can be overpowering.
3. LAVENDER TEA
A tea can be made from the fresh or dried flowers of lavender. It is helpful for easing headaches. Apparently it was drunk daily by Queen Elizabeth I for migraines. I prefer using the flowers fresh. The flavour is better - somehow sweeter.
Lavender flowers and leaves are great in desserts. You can sprinkle them through cakes, biscuits and slices.
5. LAVENDER VINEGAR
Use fresh sprigs of flowers and leaves in vinegar for salad dressings, marinades and more. Place the freshly harvested, but dry leaves and flowers and add to vinegar. Leave steep for a few weeks then strain and use over the next 12 months.
(You can also dilute this vinegar 1 part: 2 parts water as a simple spray and wipe cleaner, which is also excellent for cleaning windows too. It has natural bug-repellent properties too, so a good thing to spritz around a bit)
NOTE: Make sure you know the source of your leaves and flowers to make sure they have not been sprayed.
I love that Lavender thrives in some of the more difficult places in my garden, and it’s also a great potted plant. It is so drought hardy. Key thing - don’t overwater it. It doesn’t do well with wet feet. I like to keep my lavenders well mulched and trim then when necessary to keep them bushy.
A TINY BIT OF HISTORY
Lavender is a native of the Mediterranean region and commonly used in the Old World. Did you know that when the King Tut’s tomb was opened in 1923, there was a faint scent of lavender even 3,000 years. Egyptians used lavender for mummification and as a perfume. Romans also used lavender - for bathing, cooking and purifying the air.
I hope you enjoyed reading. Feel free to share.
Happy gardening and cooking!
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Labels: a good life, food, foraging, gardening, health, natural cleaning, perennials, permaculture, simple living, vinegar