The culinary lavender has a deeper, more purple color and shorter stems than the lavender used in crafts or bouquets. We grow 300 culinary lavenders, Lavandula angustifolia 'Royal Purple'. After cutting, we hang them to dry in the shed for several weeks. When I rub the buds off for cleaning, the fragrance is so intense, it makes me laugh. The culinary lavender is selling well this year, since there is more interest in exotic spices and dishes. Culinary lavender can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, and it is very intense in flavor, so we use very little to flavor the stews, or lemonade, or cookies.
An easy way to enjoy and share the culinary lavender is to combine one tablespoon of dried culinary lavender buds with 1 cup of white sugar, place in a tightly sealed jar and shake occasionally. The sugar will absorb the essential oils from the lavender and after 2 weeks can be used in cookies, or sprinkled on toast, or added to drinks. It looks pretty when placed in decorative jars, smells great and makes an easy gift.
Here is another easy recipe using culinary lavender. This dish is great for potlucks, winter gatherings, or camping:
Baked Beans with Raisins and Lavender
- One 15-ounce can of baked beans (such as Bush's Vegetarian Beans)
- 2 sour apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped culinary lavender
- salt, pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients, mix well, transfer to a baking dish, cover and bake for 1 hour. Serve as a side dish with ham, turkey, or other meat. Or serve as a main dish with rice and tortillas.