Lavender is a fragrant herb that has a distinctive floral flavor and is commonly used in cooking and baking. Both fresh and dried lavender can be used in cooking, but they should be used differently to achieve the best results.
Fresh lavender is most commonly used to infuse flavor into liquids like syrups, cocktails, and teas. To use fresh lavender in cooking, simply strip the leaves from the stem and add them to the recipe as directed. Fresh lavender has a delicate flavor and should be used sparingly to avoid overpowering the dish.
Dried lavender, on the other hand, is more potent and should be used in smaller amounts than fresh lavender. Dried lavender can be used in a variety of recipes, including baked goods like cookies and cakes, as well as savory dishes like roasted meats and vegetables. When using dried lavender in cooking, it’s important to crush the flowers slightly to release their flavor.
Lavender pairs well with a variety of flavors, including citrus, honey, and berries. It’s also often used in conjunction with other herbs like rosemary and thyme.
Here’s a simple recipe for making a refreshing lavender lemonade using fresh lavender:
Lavender Lemonade Recipe
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup fresh lavender flowers
- 1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice
- 4 cups cold water
- Ice, for serving
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the lavender flowers. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
- Strain the lavender syrup through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to extract as much syrup as possible. Discard the solids.
- In a large pitcher, combine the lavender syrup, lemon juice, and cold water. Stir to combine.
- Serve the lavender lemonade over ice, garnished with additional fresh lavender flowers if desired.
Here’s a recipe for making lavender shortbread cookies using dried lavender leaves:
Lavender Shortbread Cookies Recipe
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons dried lavender leaves, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together until light and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, lavender leaves, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing until the dough comes together in a ball.
- Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten the balls slightly with the palm of your hand.
- Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, or until they are lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.