Lavender is by far my most prized herb/flower in my garden as it has everything I could wish for in an herb. The variety I grow is Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ – perfect for my zone 5 garden. There are other varieties and colors, just be sure you get the one that is suited for your growing area.
This cultivar produces the deepest violet-purple calyces, grows about 18-24 inches tall and blooms in early summer. It is drought tolerant and really does not like wet feet. It needs full sun and well-drained soil and does well during our Michigan winters. I cut it back after blooming in July and sometimes I get another bloom in mid to late September. I have four areas where I grow it, two were planned and the third and fourth are volunteers (see below).
Lavender, why do I love thee? Let me count the ways… First the color, second the smell, third – it attracts my favorite pollinator, bees; fourth – a great herb for savory and especially sweet recipes. See the list of recipes below for the ones I have published so far. It is an ingredient in Herbes de Province and Lavender Tea. It can be used in potpourri and for medicinal uses. It’s a great landscaping plant as you can see in the pictures – what a pretty border it makes. The flowers are fragrant fresh or dried, it makes a beautiful cut flower and I just happen to love it 🙂
The five stages of lavender; 1) cut back in April and just starting to show some green; 2) lavender in full bloom in late June; 3) flowers have lost their color in late July; 4) cut way back hoping for another bloom before the season is over in mid to late September; 5) you can see the new growth in just a few weeks and we are having a drought! 6) Recent update September 15th – new flower stalks are forming, not as vigorous as in the spring but I am getting fresh blooms to use for recipes or the bees to enjoy! The following is the various stages my lavender plants go through during the growing season. Final and 7th update on October 12, 2016 – lots of flowers but not as full as the spring bloom.
Some of my lavender/edible flower books on the left. I also have a number of herb books which include lavender in the picture on the right.
The buds are pictured below:
I treasure my lavender volunteers: the lavender on the left took over Iberis sempervirens or “Candytuft“. You can see what’s left of it around the lavender plant and in the middle of it. The picture on the right shows a lavender plant growing in my Geranium sanguineum ‘Striatum’ or Striped Bloodred Geranium. When a lavender plant pops up anywhere in my gardens I leave it as it brings some lovely blue/purple color and of course the smell. I did not plant these … Mother Nature at her best!
My lavender recipes I have published so far:
- Lavender-Infused Mom Collins
- Chicken with Lavender, Lemon and Thyme – thank you Chef Julianna @foodieonboard.com
- Lavender and Rosemary Scented Walnuts
- Sparkling Lavender Lemonade
- Cantaloupe with Lavender Syrup
- Chocolate Lavender Brownies
- Oranges and Raspberries with Lavender Honey over Frozen Yogurt
- Lavender Lemon Spritzer
- Lemonade Scented with Lavender
- Lavender Whipped Cream
- Edible Flowers
Lavender is also an ingredient in Herbes de Provence which was introduced back in the 1970’s and Earl Grey Lavender Tea. I have had that grinder forever – just for this herb mix. Don’t you love it? I have tea bags and loose leaf and the aroma is so pleasing let alone the taste.
I wanted to include a new recipe using lavender and decided on a popsicle recipe. I purchased this Onyx mold after seeing it in a Food 52 email and viewing Suzanne’s recipes https://apuginthekitchen.com/?s=popsicles. Check out her site for some more yummy versions.
This recipe is adapted from Broma Bakery.
Lavender Honey Creamsicles
- 3/4 cup whole milk (if you use skim milk each creamsicle would only be 67 calories)
- 5 tbsp. mild honey (I did use orange blossom)
- 1-1/2 tbsp. calyx or bud, before the flower opens (the original recipe called for 2 tbsp. and that gave the creamsicles too strong of a lavender taste)
- 1-1/2 cups plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
- a dot of red and blue food coloring (optional)
Combine the milk, honey and lavender buds in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the milk just begins to scald. You will see small bubbles form. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 2 hours.
Strain the milk mixture through a sieve and press down gently with the back of a spoon to get all of the milk through. Throw out the flower buds. You can add color with a drop of red and blue food coloring if desired.
Pour into your molds and leave a little headspace for the mixture to expand. Place the tray and popsicle sticks in each creamsicle; it’s best to freeze overnight. To remove place under hot tap water for a few seconds until the creamsicles release from the mold. You can remove the trays but I chose to leave them in to catch any drips.
These are so creamy, delicious and just melt in your mouth.
Recipe by cooking with aunt juju