Lavender (lavandula spp.)
This herb is commonly used in baked foods like bread and cakes. It can also be used in salads. It has a slight sweet flavour with a floral taste. Be careful not to over use this herb as its flavours are quite strong.
Using this herb in baking breads and cakes lends its floral flavour beautifully to these foods. Also it is popular in the baking of scones and cookies. Another useful tip is to make sure you are buying culinary grade lavender, as there are other types.
It is generally used in its dried form when used in baking. That being said fresh lavender flowers make a great garnish in salads and on cakes.
Relaxation- For centuries this herb has been used in its essential oil form to make soaps which help the body to relax and also gives a floral soothing aroma when bathing.
Anti-inflammatory- This herb has anti inflammatory properties, you can mix the flowers or essential oil into the water when taking a bath, this releases the anti oxidants and in turn helps to reduce inflammation.
Blood pressure- This herb can help in regulating blood pressure by inhalation with its anti oxidant properties, but if taking other medication to lower blood pressure seek medical advice first.
Burns and Scalds- Effective in treating burns and scalds when used in its oil form. It has pain relieving, anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties which are good for the treatment of burns.
Vitamins- A, C, E
Minerals- Calcium, Magnesium.
Baking with lavender, with its floral flavours and aromas, adds a different twist to what ever you are cooking . I like to use it in bread making. The smell when it is cooking is lovely and even better tasting with a good dollop of butter.
When making the bread I prefer to use a bread maker. These are very easy to use and convenient, just set the settings and leave it to do its thing.
Here you will find a simple bread recipe with the lavender added and really gives a floral flavour to the bread.
1 cup of warm water
2 x tablespoons of sugar (white)
7 x grams of bread yeast
4 x table spoons of sun flower oil
2 x tablespoons of lavender herb (dried)
3 x cups of bread flour
1 x teaspoon of sea salt
Open your bread making machine and add the yeast, sugar and water and leave it for 10 minutes to work. Once its all dissolved you can then add the sun flower oil, lavender, flour and the salt to the water and yeast.
Close the lid and you can then either select basic or white bread in the settings. Then simply press start and wait for the cycle to complete and your bread will be ready for the table.
If you prefer or need fresh lavender I would suggest growing it at home in the garden or in a large flower pot. To find out more information on how to go about this, just click on this link