If you’re cooking, use culinary lavender only
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).