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Phenomenal Flavor: Savoring the Taste of Lavender

Updated: Oct 31, 2023


lavender field in bloom
Our lavender at sunset

When you hear the word lavender you think clean bedsheets, fields of flowers, and luxurious body products, but this indigo bloom has a culinary alter ego that has been known for centuries! Lavender is actually an herb that belongs to the mint family, and can be used in sweet or savory dishes to incorporate a smooth, subtly sweet herbal flavor.


Use this article as a guide to lavender bliss as you explore the art of seamlessly integrating this herb into your recipes while unleashing your creativity to create unique culinary masterpieces!


 

Why Cook With Lavender?


Lavender offers several potential health benefits when consumed in moderate amounts. However, it's important to note that scientific research on the health effects of lavender as a food ingredient is still limited.

Potential benefits include...


Relaxation and Stress Relief

Lavender is known for its calming properties and may help promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep quality.


Digestive Aid

Traditionally, lavender has been used to promote digestive health. It may help with alleviating symptoms such as bloating, gas, and stomachaches.


Antioxidant Properties

Lavender contains certain compounds with antioxidant properties, such as polyphenols. Antioxidants help protect the body against damage from harmful free radicals, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases.


Anti - Inflammatory Properties

Some studies suggest that lavender may possess anti-inflammatory properties. These effects could help alleviate mild inflammation in the body, (although more research is needed.)


Mood Enhancement

Lavender's pleasant aroma and potential relaxation effects may positively impact mood and emotional well-being. It is often used in aromatherapy for its calming and uplifting qualities.


***It's important to remember that individual responses to lavender may vary, and consuming lavender should be done in moderation. If you have specific health concerns or are considering using lavender for therapeutic purposes, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.***



Lavender in Cocktail and Mocktails, cooking with lavender
Enjoy Lavender Cocktails and Mocktails



 

How to Cook With Lavender


Lavender's popularity in modern cuisine has grown within the last few years, and it is widely recognized as a versatile and aromatic herb for culinary experimentation. Today, lavender is utilized in culinary creations worldwide, with its delicate floral and slightly herbal flavor adding a unique twist to various recipes.


Cooking with lavender can be intimidating as it is a rather unconventional ingredient to most, but with a few simple tips, you'll be a pro at incorporating it into any dish of your choosing.


Choosing The Right Lavender

Usually, French lavender is used for culinary purposes, as these plants produce beautiful, velvety pastel buds that have a flavor and aroma that's sweet like candy. "Big Time Blue", and "Melissa Lilac" are two types of culinary lavender we grow here at Pumpkin Blossom Farm. However, our favorite lavender to cook with is actually a hybrid or Intermedia lavender called "Phenomenal". Remember, cooking is a playground, and there is no right or wrong way to incorporate lavender into your dishes. Experiment with different recipes and types of lavender, and see what works for you!


Less is More

Lavender is a very potent herb - when incorporating whole buds into recipes such as baked goods, a tablespoon is usually the perfect amount to give your dish a sweet and aromatic note. If you use too much, your dish will take on an unpleasant and "soapy" flavor.


Infusion

If full or ground lavender buds will disrupt the texture of your dish, you can always infuse the flavor into another ingredient from the recipe. Milk, butter, or water are commonly used to steep lavender, which extracts the flavor, aroma and antioxidants without compromising the texture of your dish. You can do this by heating your ingredients for approximately 6 minutes after the mixture reaches a boil - either by directly mixing the lavender into your ingredient of choosing and straining it afterward, or placing the lavender in a tea infuser.




Steeping lavender in cream to make ice cream
Lavender Ice Cream


Try it!

Now that you're familiar with the basics of cooking with lavender, it's time to experiment! Here is one of our favorite simple recipes here at Pumpkin Blossom Farm, great for summer charcuterie boards, or a light snack.



Honey Lavender Whipped Cream Cheese


Ingredients:

8 oz. Cream Cheese - softened to room temp.

2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream

1 Tablespoon Honey

2 Teaspoons roughly chopped Lavender


Directions:


Combine the honey, lavender, and heavy cream in a small saucepan, and heat on low just until the honey has completely dissolved. Watch the mixture and swirl gently to prevent the heavy cream from scorching.


Once the mixture is fully combined, strain it into a small bowl and let cool. Place in the refrigerator until it is cool to the touch (about 20 min.)


Place the cream cheese into a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, slowly incorporate the honey lavender cream, then whip on high until light and fluffy. (approx. 5 minutes.)


Transfer the cream cheese to a ramekin and garnish with lavender buds and a drizzle of honey. Enjoy with sage cornbread, fruit, or toast points.



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