Surprisingly lavender is a herb that I don’t use each and every day maybe rosemary, fennel or mint but not lavender. It is so versatile and has so many great qualities. Beautiful and appealing to look at, like a flower, which is not very typical when looking at herbs such as mint, fennel or parsley. I thought I should inspire you with some lavender fact, tips, and uses and even spice it up by adding a recipe with use of lavender. Have a good read all food lovers.
Lavender is one of the well known herbs that there is. It is small with grey, downy, linear leaves withblue to violet flower petals and grows compact.
A wide variety of lavender exists but consists of two main types:-Angustifolia most popular produces harsh camphoraceous oiland L. Stoechas, not usually planted becuase it is very hard but has a high camphor oil content.
When making use of lavender for cooking, health or wellbeing the fresh and dried flower tops are used.
It is aromatic, tonic herb with a sweet scent. It relaxes spasms, benefits the digestion, and stimulates the uterus and lower fever. It has an anti septic and depression effect.
- By lavender from a garden centre or grow it from slips.
- Lavender grows best in temperatures ranging from cool to how, but does not like humidity
- Grow in full sun in a position protected from the wind.
- The soil needs to be well drained, with good compost content and a pH balance of between 6, 5 and 7, 5.
- Lavender is water wise, but should be watered in dry weather conditions.
- Lavender is fully grown after 3 years. Cut back each year after flowering, to ensure the plants last longer.
Uses for lavender
- Lavender is an excellent insect repellent. Scatters bunches on your windowsills or hang near doors.
- Drink lavender tea for a good night’s sleep or to settle a stomach. Infuse a heaped table spoon of fresh or dried flowers for 10 minutes. Strain and sweeten, if you prefer.
- Use a strained infusion as a hair rinse to reduce dandruff.
- Wrap two tablespoons of lavender flowers and oatmeal in a piece of muslin cloth and tie tightly. Attach this to your bath tap so the water runs over it into the bath.
It’s always more exciting and fulfilling to make your own home remedies try this homemade bath salts. This would make a perfect homemade gift, if packaged in a nice glass jar with a ribbon.
Mix together one cup of Epsom salts, half a cup coarse sea salt, two table spoons of bicarbonate of soda and a handful of dried lavender flowers. Add one teaspoon of glycerine and a few drops of lavender oil and mix well. Pack in an airtight container and use within weeks. It also makes a good body scrub, but don’t use on open wounds.
Cooking with lavender
- Use common lavender and other types of lavender when cooking.
- Chopping or bruising leaves will help to release the flavour. Once the lavender is chopped you can store it in an airtight container in a cupboard.
- Use the stems of the lavender sprigs to throw on the braai to add a hint of lavender to your grilled meat or chicken.
- Put lavender flowers into a small jar with sugar and leave to infuse for a week. Use the lavender sugar to sprinkle onto a biscuit or desserts.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Baking time: 10 minutes
Oven Temperature: 220°C
80ml (75g) cold butter, cubed
410ml self-raising flour
45ml castor sugar
10ml chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg
Berry or cherry jam and cream to serve.
1. Rub the butter into the flour. Add the castor sugar and lavender flowers.
2. Mix in the egg and buttermilk, don’t over mix. If dough is too dry, add a little more buttermilk.
3. Roll out to a 2,5cm thickness onto a lightly floured board. Cut out scone shapes with a scone cutter.
4. Place onto a greased baking and dusted baking sheet. Brush with a little extra buttermilk and dust with flour.
5. Bake in a preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.
6. Leave to cool then serve with jam and cream.