Lavender: The Calming Herb

With Floral Flavors being one of the big trends this year, Lavender is making its mark. There are a variety of Lavenders, so which ones are best for cooking? Lavender has been a big trend in cooking this years. It is very versatile because not only can you use it for savory dishes like meats and vegetables but you can also use in baked goods. Just like you would cook with other herbs like oregano or parsley, you can cook with lavender and believe it or not it won’t taste like a bouquet of flowers!

 

Which lavenders are good for cooking?

One variety of Lavender that’s good for cooking is Lavandula angustifolia, more commonly known as English Lavender.  They are little more sweeter so they have a little floral note to them so they won’t over power your dish and taste like soap.

 

When is the best time to harvest Lavender for cooking?

You want to make sure you harvest before the buds open. If you don’t they will shed. When you see one or two buds open up that’s when you want to harvest the plant. You want to use the whole buds. Some recipes will call for whole buds and some will call for chopped. The best part of the lavender to use for cooking are the buds however, the stems are great to use when smoking meats. Lavender is also used in herbes de provence, commonly used in French cuisine.

 

History of Lavender

The name Lavender is derived from the Latin term “to wash”. It was used quite a bit by Romans as a dressing on their wounds because of its antiseptic properties. There are a lot of references to lavender in the Bible using the name “Spikenard”. In fact it was written that Mary Magdalene used Spikenard to wash the feet of Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve used Lavender as they escaped the Garden of Eden.  The first record of medicinal properties back in AD 77 it was considered a cure-all for menstrual problems, upset stomach, kidneys disorders and jaundice. In the middle ages, monks and nuns were known for using Lavender to make medicine. Lavender was discovered in King Tut’s tomb in 1922. When the tomb was opened it still smelled like Lavender.

 

Health Benefits of Lavender

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Relieve insomnia
  • Anti-flammatory
  • Great for skin care
  • Treats infection
  • Can treat hair loss
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Helps digestion

 

Besides the great health benefits and aromatherapy uses, Lavender is a great way to add a light floral note to your dishes whether savory or sweet. Let us know how you used lavender and comment below.

 

 

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