Culinary lavender is a versatile herb for cooking and baking and is gaining popularity among professional and home chefs alike. Edible flowers (fresh or dried) are fashionably used in today’s upscale restaurants and the soft earthy herb flavor of lavender sought after by many famous chefs. Now you too can add lavender to your collection of herbs and create flavorful dishes to enjoy.
Lavandula (common name Lavender) is a genus of 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. Realizing it is related to Rosemary and Mint makes it more palatable and applicable to cooking. Lavender by itself in a tea, jelly or syrup is a delightful flavor but when mingled with other flavors it is simply divine, fit for royalty. Centuries ago even Queen Elizabeth I of England valued lavender as a conserve and she commanded that the royal table should never be without “conserve of lavender”. She also drank Lavender tea to help ease her migraines. If you are ready to add lavender to your kitchen table try the appetizer recipe below with a nice glass of your favorite white wine. Also visit our “Recipe” tab to the left for more ideas. Apricot Lavender Cheese Spread
- 10-15 dried apricot halves, chopped fine
- 1/4 cup of orange juice
- 1/4 cup of bourbon or apricot brandy (optional)
- 1 eight ounce brick of cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon of fig jam
- 1 teaspoon of finely ground dried culinary lavender * (grind in a coffee mill or with a mortise and pestle)
- 3/4 cup of chopped pecans
Combine chopped apricot, orange juice and brandy in small sauce pan, simmer for 10-15 minutes until apricot pieces are plump. Place softened cream cheese in bowl or food processor, add apricot, fig jam and ground culinary lavender. Process until well blended. Top with pecans. Delicious served as a sandwich spread or on a cracker. For the appetizer pictured above, layer a small amount of fig jam, cheese spread, a slice of pear or apple and top with lavender buds for an elegant hors d’oeuvres’. Enjoy!
*When purchasing lavender for use in the kitchen make sure it is labeled “culinary lavender” and free of pesticides and herbicides. My favorite lavender varieties for cooking are from the Lavandula angustafolia sub genus, (also known as English lavender),”Folgate” and “Royal Velvet”. These are less camphoric and lend a softer flavor. As always, please contact us via phone or email if you would like to purchase culinary lavender, we have the aforementioned culinary varieties available. All our lavender is naturally grown using organic practices, free of pesticides, herbicides or growth chemicals.