Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:58 pm
Especially in typical Provençal stews, the flowers as well as the fresh and dried young leaves are often used as a spice. Contrary to popular belief, lavender is not poisonous – after all, the herb can also be used as a remedy, in perfumes or in the home.
Use real lavender
For a use in the kitchen is particularly suitable true lavender, which is easily recognized by its narrow leaves. It has a sweet taste similar to rosemary, but should be used sparingly because of its intense aroma. Broad-leaved spikenard, on the other hand, is less suitable for eating, as it lends a rather soap-like note to dishes. Other varieties, however – such as the Schopflavendel – contain significantly more essential oils and are therefore too strong.
Lavender in savory meat dishes
Traditionally, lavender belongs in the famous herb mixture “Herbs of Provence”, but it can also be added fresh as a bouquet garni – i.e. as part of a bouquet of herbs – to stews and stews. Famous is the typical French ratatouille, a stewed vegetable dish with eggplants, zucchini and tomatoes, which is seasoned with the herb mixture.
Lavender also goes particularly well with lamb or game, as well as fish dishes. Dishes with sheep’s or goat’s cheese – grilled, for example – also benefit from the subtly sweet aroma of the spice lavender.
Lavender in sweet desserts
Furthermore, edible lavender fits wonderfully into many sweet dishes. For example, you can perfume the sweet dishes with lavender sugar or lavender honey. In desserts, mainly the (dried) flowers are given, while the young leaves are mainly used in savory dishes. But be careful: really only take very young leaves, as older ones quickly take on a soapy taste.
Make your own lavender sugar
For a lavender sugar you need
- dried lavender flowers
- household sugar
- a well-sealable tin
Fill the can with alternating layers of lavender flowers and sugar. Close them ‘tightly and let the mixture infuse for a few weeks. The sugar will take on the lavender aroma, so you can eventually sift out the flowers again. The lavender sugar made this way can be used to make creme brulee, lavender ice cream or lavender cream, among other things. For the lavender ice cream, boil 250 milliliters of milk with as much cream and 200 grams of lavender sugar and stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved. In another bowl, mix eight egg yolks and fold them into the cooled milk. Freeze the mixture in the ice cream maker until it forms a creamy ice cream.
Tips & Tricks
Lavender harmonizes perfectly with other Mediterranean herbs such as thyme, sage and oregano. But also orange flavor (such as orange peel) or lemon goes very well with it.