If you’re cook­ing, use culi­nary laven­der only

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature -

here are hun­dreds of va­ri­eties of laven­der, but many are specif­i­cally grown for their ex­cel­lent oil prop­er­ties, not for eat­ing. The best ed­i­bles are English laven­der va­ri­eties ( La­van­dula an­gus­ti­fo­lia) like Hid­cote, Mun­stead, and Lady.

You can use laven­der in sweet and savoury dishes, but there is an art to it. In sweet dishes it can quickly be­come over-pow­er­ing so it’s best to start with a small amount and then add more next time as too much will cause it to taste bit­ter.

One op­tion is to flavour an in­gre­di­ent like sugar. You can use fresh or dried laven­der flow­ers; try a ra­tio of five to six parts sugar to one part laven­der, then leave for 2-3 weeks, shak­ing the jar daily. Do a taste test be­fore use to see if it’s too weak or strong for you. Laven­der-in­fused sugar goes beau­ti­fully in recipes that use honey, lemon or dark choco­late, and in cus­tard or creamy desserts like crème brulee.

An­other op­tion is to add it to any liq­uids in a recipe that re­quire gen­tle heat, then strain it out, for ex­am­ple ice cream (see recipe at right).

Add ap­prox­i­mately 3 tsp of dried laven­der flow­ers to a one loaf bread recipe to flavour it, or sub­sti­tute laven­der for rose­mary in bread.

METHOD Boil the wa­ter, then pour into a cup con­tain­ing the flow­ers and mint. Leave for five min­utes to steep – don’t leave it longer than this as fresh flow­ers can turn the wa­ter bit­ter if left too long. METHOD Sift the dry in­gre­di­ents three times. Melt the Kremelta gen­tly on a low heat and then in­crease the heat slowly un­til the Kremelta is hot. If you wish, add one cup chopped nuts and one cup chopped fruits to dry in­gre­di­ents, pour in the Kremelta, mix and leave to set (about one hour).

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