I've used lavender for both cooking and baking but didn't know there were different types. What makes them different? I love lavender biscotti. The lavender must be very dry or the biscotti will get stale overnight. Lavender works well with lamb dishes and chicken, especially Indian, Moroccan, Tunisian or Turkish dishes where spices like cinnamon are used. It is also a good addition to an olive oil based marinade for lamb and chicken dishes before grilling. Lavender is an interesting option wherever you might use rosemary but want something more floral.
Another use for lavender is in custards. When you cook the custard add a whole sprig of fresh lavender and then remove when the custard thickens. Dry lavender might come apart in the recipe.
She sent Grosso (Lavandula x intermedia Grosso) for savory dishes and Royal Velvet (Lavandula angustifolia 'Royal Velvet') for desserts. I have a vague recollection of a one time conversation with a mutual freind who helps with her lavender festival. Different kinds of lavender have different uses including cooking, baking, oil extraction, and flower arrangements. With baking, they look for better color and flavor retention when baked in an oven.
How much are you using in the recipes? Is it a direct one-to-one ratio of rosemary to lavender replacement?
Thanks. I'll look over on Etsy and the lavender group to see what they have.
Well thanks for the lavender education, Susan. I never new about different varieties having different uses. I don't really measure my lavender but do use it like rosemary so an equal exchange sounds right. It works out fine but my one disaster was a catering job when I made lavender biscotti a few days before and the biscotti was so stale the day of delivery I had to start again from scratch. The lavender was relatively dry (a few weeks) but now I dry it out for several months before using. It would be no problem in a cake or cooked meal though.
I leave it out in open bowls or baskets lined with paper towels until it crumbles when rubbed together in my hands. I do the same with rosemary and mint and find them both very fragrant even after a year old. You can also wrap it loosely in paper towel if your worried about dust. I love dusting foods with dried mint. It turns to a powder when completely dried.
Here are a couple of lavender recipes; I've tried both and they're delicious:
Lavender Berry Crisp
Notes: Use the minimum amount of lavender for a subtle accent, more if you love lavender. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Yield: Makes 8 servings
2 to 3 tablespoons dried culinary 'Provence' lavender buds (see notes)
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 cups blueberries, rinsed
4 cups raspberries, rinsed
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1. In a blender, whirl lavender and tapioca until finely ground. Pour into a large bowl. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Add blueberries, raspberries, and lemon juice; mix gently. Pour into a shallow 2 1/2- to 3-quart baking dish.
2. In a food processor or bowl, combine flour, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and butter. Whirl or rub in with your fingers until coarse crumbs form. Stir in almonds. Squeeze handfuls of the nut mixture together, then crumble into about 1/2-inch chunks over fruit mixture. Set dish on a foil-lined baking pan.
3. Bake in a 350° oven until juices are bubbling in the center and streusel is browned, 60 to 70 minutes. Cool on a rack at least 45 minutes. Serve warm or cool. Spoon crisp into bowls.
Duck Glazed With Honey and Lavender (Or Herbes De Provence)
Note: This sounds fussy but is really quite easy, and very tasty.
Prep Time: 1 1/2 hrs
Total Time: 4 hrs min
About This Recipe
"This is a lush recipe for duck. It tastes very "french", and despite the honey glaze, it isn't too sweet. The lavender or herbes de provence make a nice counterpoint to the flavors. The pan juice is perfect served alongside the duck, to drizzle over the meat at the table. Adapted from epicurious.com"
4 teaspoons packed fresh lavender blossoms (use the same proportions of herbes de provence, if you can't find lavender) or 3 teaspoons dried lavender flowers (use the same proportions of herbes de provence, if you can't find lavender)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 (5 1/2 lb) duck (thawed, if frozen)
1 cup low sodium chicken broth canned
3 tablespoons dry red wine
4 tablespoons honey (I use clover, but if you can find lavender or orange flower honey, it would add additional flavor)
salt and pepper , to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, finely grind half of the lavender (or herbes de provence), thyme, sea salt, and peppercorns.
Set aside the ground herb rub mix.
Remove excess fat and skin from duck neck and inside cavity.
Remove giblets (reserve liver only).
Thoroughly rinse duck and pat dry with paper towels.
With very sharp paring knife, carefully score duck breast in criss-cross pattern, making sure to cut through skin and fat only (do not cut into the flesh or"meat" of the duck).
Rub herb mix into both inside the cavity and the outside of the duck.
Place liver back into the prepared duck cavity.
Put duck onto rack inside a roasting pan, breast side up and roast for 2 hours (do not baste during initial roasting).
Remove duck from oven and increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Put the duck on a platter and carefully pour pan juices into large glass measuring cup.
Spoon off all but about 1 tablespoon of the clear duck fat into a glass dish and refrigerate to use in other dishes as a sauté medium, for example.
Pour pan juices and the 1 tablespoon of the duck fat back to the roasting pan and add the chicken broth and wine.
Put duck back on the rack in the roasting pan and brush with about half of the honey.
Roast the duck for about 20 minutes, basting at least once with the pan juice/broth/wine mixture.
Remove the duck from the oven and brush with the rest of the honey, then sprinkle the duck about 1 teaspoon of the lavender or herbes de provence and return to the oven to roast about 5 minutes more.
Depending on the size of the duck, it may take a bit longer; it is ready to remove from the oven when a meat thermometer inserted into the innermost duck thigh registers 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
When duck is done, remove from the oven and put it on a platter to rest.
Remove the liver from the duck cavity and mash finely in a small bowl to be used on crackers or small toasted baguette slices.
Pour pan juices from the roaster into a saucepan, making sure to scrape up browned bits.
Add the remaining lavender or herbes de provence to the saucepan, along with salt and pepper to taste and place over medium heat.
Bring the juices to a boil, whisking often, and cook until the sauce is thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Susan, I have dusted ice cream, custards, apple pie, lamb and chicken stews, veggie curries and the rice, nut and current fillings for stuffed grape leaves. I wasn't sure when I first tried it because this is not something I'd read about but the flavor actually does come through. I've also dusted teas and tisanes when fresh mint is not available in the garden. I don't bake much but had considered mint dust in chocolate chip cookies.
This is from an article that Laura Grady wrote and sent me. Some exerts in her article are from a NYT article.
"Lavender's taste is a different, yet pleasant, accent to a wide array of foods. However, if you add too much lavender, your dish, as one author puts it, will taste like soap or moth-balls, or it can taste bitter. Dried flowers are usually about 3 times more potent as a comparable volume of fresh flowers, so be prudent with your portions. Choosing the right variety of lavender to use in cooking can be as critical to the success of your meal as is the amount of lavender you add. Although all varieties of lavender are edible, some are better suited for adding to food than others. If you buy dried or fresh lavender that is labeled as “culinary lavender” or “food grade”, you can rest assured it was not treated with pesticides or other harmful chemicals. Culinary lavender buds are usually gathered from the sweeter, less camphoric varieties and are particularly well-suited for dessert dishes. However, you are not limited to using purchased culinary lavender.
If you have your own source of untreated lavender plants, you can collect your own untreated, food-safe buds and determine which varieties please you the most. The “true” lavenders, also referred to as English lavenders, (Lavandula angustifolia cultivars) are popular because they contain the least amount of camphor and have a sweeter smell. Some of the sweetest are ‘Sachet', 'Irene Doyle' and 'Maillette'. The variety ‘Melissa’, developed nearby in Newberg, is reported as having a very delicate flavor. The lavandins or hybrids (Lavandula x intermedia cultivars), such as 'Grosso' and 'Provence', have a more intense, complex fragrance and taste but are well-suited for grilling and smoking meats, fish, and vegetables, where their more robust properties are not as apt to overwhelm the dish as they would in a dessert.
Ready to expand your culinary experience? You can find dozens of recipes on the internet. Your first attempt can be as easy as sprinkling just a few lavender flowers or buds on lemon bars ice cream. To add a wonderful subtle flavor to grilled meats and fish (especially salmon), add fresh or dried lavender flowers, stems, and leaves to the coals during the last few minutes of cooking, close the lid, and let the smoke infuse the meat to give a mild but smoky aroma. Robert Kourik, the author of The Lavender Garden, recommends green lavender (L.viridis) as "the best of all for grilling, herb breads, and hearty dishes”. Another grilling option is use the stems as skewers or apply a lavender rub to the meat..."
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons fresh lavender buds or 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Mince ingredients by hand or in food processor. Do not purée. Rub all over chosen meat; flank steak is especially well-suited. Grill, bake, or broil. Source: NY Times 2001
What a helpful article! I'm going to save it. I was told that one specific type of lavender was best for culinary use but of course I don't remember what that was anymore. The idea of a less camphor-y taste makes sense, though.
Lavender iced tea or lemonade. Mull the lavender with sugar to get the most flavor. Pour hot water over lavender then add tea bags or lemons for lemonade. No need to use a lot of sugar... can be finished to taste with agave nectar or honey... or for me, a diabetic, I use splenda.
Steep tea or lemons until water cools. Add water to taste, or just pour over ice.
I have had my lavender plants for years and have never tried the buds for anything more than enjoying the scent! They are about to bloom so I guess I will be trying the fresh buds for something different this year. My lavender is Grosso. I had quite a few plants but lost many and am now down to 4 but it looks like they are going to bloom well this year. I usually get 2 blooms each year from them. I also have a small plant that has white blooms. Can't remember what that one is called.