Lavender is well known as a plant used in making soaps, perfumes and other cosmetics, so it may come to you as a surprise that it can also be used in cooking. Ever since I moved to Provence, France, I have learned a lot of things about using lavender, whether for cooking or for decorating my home, so I can enjoy the beautiful smell through the entire house. I want to share with you a few ideas that I have already tried.
A new friend I made since coming here taught me about how to make wonderful tea using lavender and other herbs from the garden. Almost anyone around here seems to be growing bushes with all kinds of herbs, so making a bit of tea is never a problem. The recipe recommended to me by my new friend involves lavender flower heads and chamomile. Just make sure that the heads of the flowers are well dried, to avoid your tea smelling and tasting of soap. The thing with lavender is that this herb is rich in natural oils, and it can make your food inedible, if you are using too much of it, or if the lavender you are using is not sufficiently dried. The tea I am telling you about now has a great calming effect, so I recommend it for drinking late in the evening, before going to bed, or while you are reading a book and you wait for sleep to come.
Another great thing I learned to cook using lavender is ice cream! Come on, you surely want to hear this! You basically prepare the cream for the ice cream as you usually do, with the difference that you infuse it with dried lavender buds. After bringing the cream to simmering temperature, you just need to stop the fire and let it cool with a lid on top for about half an hour. I don’t think I have ever had an ice cream with such an interesting taste, and I also seem to be getting good at it, too. Here is something I do to make my lavender ice cream recipe even more delicious: I add honey to the cream, replacing some of the sugar, for a healthier alternative and one that even tastes better!
As far as other home uses for lavender are concerned, I learned how to make lavender scented candles. In the heated wax, I mix a bit of lavender buds and a few drops of lavender oil. I am also fond of the lavender potpourri I made; it is practically a sachet filled with dried lavender buds that smell wonderfully. You can use the sachet as a central piece on furniture, or you can place it somewhere close to your head, for beautiful dreams.