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Cooking With Culinary Lavender: What Does Lavender Taste Like?

Culinary lavender / Photo by E. A. Wright

Culinary lavender / Photo by E. A. Wright

TRYING CULINARY LAVENDER

If a healthy mix of sugar and spice would make your day nice, consider cooking with lavender.

The tiny purple flowers of the lavender plant lend food a unique, spicy kick. When added to a recipe, lavender is a surprise. The taste of lavender attention-grabbing — the exact opposite of the calming, relaxing sensation that the scent of lavender supposedly enhances.

Culinary lavender used as a cupcake topping / Photo by E. A. Wright

Culinary lavender used as a cupcake topping / Photo by E. A. Wright

English lavender / Photo by E. A. Wright

English lavender / Photo by E. A. Wright

English lavender / Photo by E. A. Wright

English lavender / Photo by E. A. Wright

OTHER CULINARY HERBS

  • Starting a Culinary Herb Garden At Home

    When you cultivate your own mix of fresh herbs, you'll be unconstrained by the varieties usually sold in a supermarket. The only limits are your time, patience and gardening skill.

  • The One Window Herb Garden

    Even if only one window in your house or apartment gets good light, it's possible to start an herb garden and find satisfaction in harvesting pinches and sprigs of your own homegrown herbs.

  • Mints: From Chocolate Mints to Peppermints
    Mints are hardy, versatile herbs that come in a wildly varied range of shapes and flavors. Take fresh pineapple mint. It's as different from peppermint as it is from Standard Issue Toothpaste.


WHO MIGHT LIKE LAVENDER?

No spice lover should skip culinary lavender. That's especially so for spice fanatics who like a dash of hotness in their desserts.

If you think mixing a bit of pepper into chocolate is an amazing idea, or if you absolutely adore the ginger in gingerbread cookies, you might really enjoy cooking with lavender.

WHAT IS CULINARY LAVENDER?

Culinary lavender is nothing too exotic. It's simply a mix of dried lavender buds that have been treated like food, rather than like something that might go in a sachet and never pass human lips.

In theory, culinary lavender comes from lavender varieties selected primarily for flavor.

WHAT DOES LAVENDER TASTE LIKE?

At first bite, lavender tastes exactly like it smells: a little bit like evergreen, a little bit like like mint, a little bit like rosemary and a little bit like flowers -- spicy flowers. Lavender is surprisingly peppery.

If, after sampling a piece of dried lavender, the taste seems too overpowering, don't give up on lavender forever. You might still enjoy a hint of lavender in your food. Try it in a sweet sauce or in honey.

WHICH FLAVORS MIX WELL WITH LAVENDER?

  • Chocolate
  • Lemon
  • Blueberries
  • Sugar
  • Honey
  • Cream
  • Vanilla
  • Thyme
  • Bay


WHAT KINDS RECIPES CALL FOR LAVENDER?

  • Ice creams
  • Cookies
  • Spice mixes
  • Stews
  • Sauces
  • Decorative toppings for baked goods
  • Flavored sugars
  • Salad dressings


Culinary lavender / Photo by E. A. Wright

Culinary lavender / Photo by E. A. Wright

MORE BY E. A. WRIGHT

  • Sweet Smelling Flowers: 7 Kinds of Fragrant Flowers
    A guide to fragrant, sweet-smelling flowers: From lilacs to freesias, these flowers are treat for the nose.
  • Queens Botanical Garden
    Inside the gates of Queens Botanical Garden, I find peace and quietude wandering past the shaded nooks, nosing through the herb garden and stopping to smell the lilacs. It's serenity in New York City.
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
    When and how to visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for an ode to all things that bloom in New York City: cherries, roses, tulips, lilacs.
  • Death Valley Flowers: Spring Wildflowers in a Desola...
    Death Valley National Park is a striking place, a place with extremes in topography and temperature. And some years, if the conditions are just right, the park erupts with a wild show of wildflowers.
  • Spring Flowers in Central Park
    Spring flowers aren't impossible to find in New York City. April is the best month to see magnolias, tulips and lilacs in bloom in Central Park.

Comments

Yadi Kusmayadi from Bekasi on December 11, 2013:

I never think before that lavender could be more attractive for the food. Great article here

toomuchmint on June 18, 2012:

I love the idea of lavender buds as a cupcake topping. The purple makes such a delicious contrast. Thanks for the ideas!

craftybegonia from Southwestern, United States on February 20, 2011:

Very intersting article, I've heard that one can cook with lavender but have never tried it.

Paula from The Midwest, USA on June 08, 2010:

I love how it looks, and the idea of using culinary lavender sounds like a great idea. Thanks for sharing

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