LAVENDER

LAVENDER. What’s not to love about this intensely aromatic, versatile, and bee loving plant! Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined to be successful at growing this beautiful plant, but I tried my hand at it, well actually went overboard with twenty-four plants my first go-round, and all but two have flourished in just one year!

So now what? How do I use this beautiful plant? Well, well, well… besides simply enjoying its aroma in a vase near your bathtub, or bedroom, it is actually delicious in food. If you have ever cooked with Herbs de Provence you will know that dried lavender is often used in it, along with many other aromatic herbs; thyme, rosemary, tarragon, savory, marjoram, oregano, bay leaf and sometimes basil. You can make this wonderful herb mix yourself, toss in some course sea salt and save in a jar to use all year.

When using herbs, in anything from cooking to medicine, there are usually four traditional ways to extract their essence:

  • Tincture – 1 cup of chopped leaves and flowers to 2 cups of 100 proof vodka, or other light flavored alcohol. Allow to steep for 4-6 weeks and you have the beautiful essence of that herb extracted in the alcohol.
  • Oil Extraction – 1 cup of chopped leaves and flowers to 2 cups of oil, preferably coconut oil, almond oil or other light flavored oil, warm the oil but not boil, add the herb, cool and keep in an airtight jar. Can be used on skin, or as a lovely hair mask, is said also to get rid of lice but I haven’t tried that. Maybe when schools open I will have my grandchildren try it!
  • Tea or steam – Again, take a handful of the herb, bring it to a slow simmer, turn off the heat and steep for 30 minutes, strain and use. I found this to be a great way to make into frozen cubes and use the cubes anytime of year.
  • Dried – Harvest the herbs, either hang them upside down in a warm window area, or porch in the summer, or lay them on a clean surface to dry out naturally, preferably in a warm window area. From there, you can use as is, or pulse the dried herbs in a food processor or blender. This is usually how I make my rosemary, sage or oregano to use throughout the year.

I will share a delicious and quite beautiful popsicle I made last summer, the first summer I grew my lavender. So delicious I now will make it ever year. Recipe can be found with a click Lavender Popsicles!

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