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Lavender is a member of the mint family and is related to rosemary, sage and thyme. It has been used in cooking for 1000’s of years but fell out of popularity in the last Century. From the Romans flavouring fish, to medieval monks adding the flower spikes to sweet puddings, lavender was used across a wide range of dishes. It is still popular in the middle east, especially in Moroccan cuisine.
English Lavender (L.angustifolia) has the sweetest fragrance of all the lavenders and is the one most commonly used in cooking. French (Stoechas) lavender can be bitter, so is best left to enjoy the look and fragrance of the plant.
It can soften the tartness of acidic fruits. Even adding just a few drops of lavender essence to stewed fruit can make a big difference to the taste. Plums, rhubarb and most berries are enhanced with lavender added to them, especially when making jam.
Fresh lavender spikes can be used like rosemary with lamb, and are particularly good alongside fennel, sage and oregano.
Lavender tea has long been recommended for upset stomachs and to drink in the evening, getting you ready for a good nights sleep. We stock two varieties Lavender Tea and Earl Grey and Lavender Tea both available from our Culinary section of the website.
From sugars, salt rubs, oils and vinegars, the use of lavender in cooking is endless, although worth remembering the ‘less is more’ rule. Too much lavender can easily overtake a dish, so be sparing when using and keep tasting!
Our culinary range is available here for you to try these for yourself, along with recipe ideas such as Lavender Shortbread, Lavender Mousse, Summer Fruits and Lavender Crumble, and Lavender Syllabub.