I have a few cups of culinary lavender buds left from last harvest and a new cookbook called Discover Cooking with Lavender by Kathy Gehrt that I’m eager to start experimenting with. I was most intrigued by her recipe for making lavender honey. It looks so nice and simple to make and what a nice treat in the middle of winter to remind me of summer’s delights. True lavender honey right out of the hive can only be produced on a farm with vast acres of lavender, as bees may go as far as 3 miles from their hive in search of nectar. If the bees have only lavender to choose from, the result is a sublime lavender honey. The alternative is to infuse a very good quality local honey with lavender buds. The honey we have is produced locally by Tassot Apiaries.I used their wildflower honey for the recipe. There was also a super simple recipe for lavender sugar which is a subtle way to include a whiff of lavender in a smoothie, on toast or in hot tea.
Into a 1 quart jar with a screw-on lid, put 1/2 cup of culinary lavender buds. Pour on the contents of a 2 lb jar of local honey. Let the jar sit for a week on a kitchen counter. Every day, turn the jar upside down. The buds tend to always float to the top and they need to be immersed in the honey to release their flavor. After a week, strain the honey through several layers of cheesecloth. Store the strained lavender honey in a clean jar at room temperature.
The proportion of culinary lavender buds to granulated sugar is about 1 TBSP buds to 1 cup of sugar, layered in a clean jar. The jar needs to sit for at least 3 days to infuse the sugar. When you want to use the sugar, strain out the buds with a fine sieve.
There is also a recipe for lavender vanilla sugar, using a whole vanilla bean. The bean is slit open, the lavender seeds are scraped into the lavender sugar, then the bean is stuck into the sugar for good measure.
Wouldn’t that be nice on toast in the morning as an alternative to cinnamon sugar?
Herbes de Provence
Lavender is also quite good in savory dishes. I made an Herbes de Provence this year entirely from herbs that I had grown and dried. My mixture was composed of Basil, Tarragon, Thyme, Marjoram, Rosemary and Lavender. I used approximately equal measurements of all the herbs. It tastes great on fish and in soups.
I had not heard of roasting lavender buds until I acquired the Discover Cooking with Lavender cookbook, and that looked really easy, too. Roasted lavender buds are particularly for savory dishes because it brings out a more earthy essence in the lavender.
Roasted Lavender Buds
I used about 1 cup of lavender buds. I heated up a cast iron skillet on high heat. The buds should be roasted for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to keep them from burning. I took the pan off the heat when I was done and let them cool on the pan. The scent is delightful!
I will pack my roasted buds into a jar and put the date on the label. They should be kept in a cool, dry place and will last for up to a year.