Most people think of fragrant purple blossoms when they think of lavender—few think of food. But lavender adds the perfect end-of-summer kick to marinades, cakes and even lemonade. The trick is to buy culinary-grade lavender instead of the ornamental sprigs at your local craft store. The fresher lavender is, the less likely your recipe will be to taste like soap. Use your lavender sparingly, as the flower power can come on strong.
Lavender is part of the mint family. It’s a great substitute for
rosemary, it pairs well with oregano, thyme and sage among other spices, and you can get creative with summer marinades by adding just a pinch of lavender buds. But since lavender combines all that’s best of floral and citrus, the easiest place to start cooking with lavender is a cold pitcher of lavender lemonade.
Lavender Lemonade (combined from several recipes available online)
- 2 Tsp. dried lavender buds (culinary grade)
- 6-8 medium sized lemons
- 1 cup honey OR sugar (not both)
- 5 cups water (2 ½ and 2 ½ cups, separated)
Squeeze around 6-8 medium lemons, yielding about a cup of fresh lemon juice. Strain, and put aside.
Now, over medium-high heat, bring 2 ½ cups of water to a boil. Remove from burner. Next, add either sugar or honey, depending on which you’ve decided to use, and stir until dissolved.
Stir in lavender, cover the mixture and steep for at least 20-30 minutes. You can put the lavender in cheesecloth, or you can strain it before you combine it with the lemon juice and water, but don’t leave the buds in the syrup mix.
Lastly, combine lemon juice, water and lavender syrup. Stir well, chill, and enjoy your fun, summery treat over ice. Bon appétit!