Sunday, 25 November 2012

Cooking with Lavender

This bunch of lavender came from my friend Kathy's garden and after I had photographed it to capture its pure violet colour I started to investigate what culinary uses I could put it to.
 It is important to only use lavender which has not been sprayed. Freshly picked it can be  used as a decorative garnish.Some say that it tastes good in a salad but I tried chewing some and I didn't find the taste of fresh lavender appealing so don't plan to go there.
From what I have read,the stalks ( with the flowerbuds removed) can  be put on the barbecue when you are cooking chicken to enhance the flavour. Or they can be laid underneath meat while it is roasting in the oven.They can also be used as kebab sticks.
Lavender also has many culinary uses in baking and desserts when dried. I  look forward to trying some of these. But first I needed to dry some. This was easily be done  by arranging the flowerheads (with stalks attached) in a single layer on a paper towel in my microwave.
I started checking after a minute and then again every thirty seconds until they were completely brittle. In my microwave this took a couple of minutes. After this I stripped the flowerheads from the leaves, crushed them in my hand and put them in a lidded glass jar away from the sunlight in my pantry.Next I plan to make some lavender sugar and use it in some baking. The instructions are here:
An excellent overview about lavender, its history and how you can cook with it is

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