A Modern Spice Drawer Staple: How 'Bout Those Lavender Buds

I imagine it's safe to say that lavender is a little known seasoning agent in many Southern kitchens. I'd like to change that. Like oregano, rosemary, and other Mediterranean herbs, lavender deserves a place in the spice cabinet, for sure. The culinary possibilities are as big as the imagination. Dried lavender buds can be incorporated in herb and spice blends for seasoning meats and vegetables, used in vinaigrettes, or turned into homemade lavender sugar, a mainstay in my pantry /blog/lavender-sugar-fragrant-by-design-hits-the-sweet-spot-in-sty.html. Herbs de Provence, a mixture of dried herbs, commonly contains lavender and is easy to make at home.

Camphor, the compound in lavender that renders it so pleasantly fragrant, is contained in variable amounts depending on the variety of lavender grown. It's important to know that not all lavender varieties are suited for cooking. I prefer angustifolia lavenders, especially Hidcote, for culinary uses, although some cooks use Provence. As with most dried herbs, a little goes a long way, and while lavender buds are costly the shelf life is up to a year.  In addition, don't overlook lavender foliage. If you have lavender in your yard or in a pot outdoors, the leaves can be snipped right through the winter and used in the kitchen. 

Finally, and this has nothing to do with either lavender or cooking, February dawned windy, soggy, and cold in our area. It had been awhile since we benefited from a good rain. That all changed a few weeks ago when it rained for 4 straight days and nights. This was not a gully washer rain, but a good long drenching that filled Hauser Creek. As the rising water made its way across our meadow I couldn't help but wonder what the creek, and the critters that depend on it, would say if it could talk.

Happy Valentine's Day!  ♥ ♥ ♥ lavender