Cooking Power in a Flower
Writer / Abby Renz, New Kitchen Store
I Love lavender.
It’s beautiful, smells amazing and promotes feelings of peace and tranquility. I love the delicate stems and tiny blossoms that retain their fragrance even after picked and dried. My sweet husband has indulged in my obsession and has taken me to various lavender fields and gardens, and gifts me with bouquets of lavender and rose for special occasions. Even my wedding was decorated with Lavender. I even have a lavender tattoo with scripture on my arm. So when I say I love lavender, I really love lavender.
You can imagine my delight, and surprise, when I discovered that lavender is also an herb and you can cook with it. Wait? A flower? Edible? No way! I had always puzzled over lavender-flavored lattes and pastries in the past. I mean, wouldn’t they taste like potpourri? I was given a recipe and tried it out and sure enough, it tasted like I was eating a bouquet and I was so disappointed.
But, as I said I LOVE lavender and I’m fairly stubborn. So, I went on a hunt and researched lavender’s properties and began experimenting with some ingredients to make the recipe taste the way I wanted it to taste. After trials and many errors, I finally was able to make blueberry lavender tea bread that tastes like heaven (and not like potpourri). Everyone loved it! My grandmother even requested it for her birthday instead of cake it was that good. It has now become my signature dessert to make and share with others. After the success I was excited. What else could I make?
I purchased some edible flower books from the New Kitchen Store and delved into how to use lavender in my cooking. Yes, I said cooking! I have made Lavender Herbed fingerling potatoes with rosemary, thyme, and rosehips that are absolutely incredible and chicken with garlic and lavender honey and so, so much more. I have learned to make my own homemade lavender simple syrup that can be used in lemonade and even added into cream for a homemade lavender latte.
Now, you don’t have to be absolutely obsessed with lavender, like me, to learn how to integrate it into your everyday recipes. Lavender and other edible flowers can greatly enhance your dishes to add some variety and flavor to the mundane meal and make them unforgettable.
My favorite spice mixture has to be Ras El Hanout and it’s perfect for herbed potatoes, chicken, or fish. It has rosehips, hibiscus, lavender, and saffron. The flavor is incredible and already packaged together, which makes quick means taste incredible. I am sure to grind and blend my herbs and spices together with my mortar and pestle to ensure optimal flavor.
Did you know that lavender is also good for sleep and soothing? I enjoy drinking blueberry lavender tea not only because it tastes amazing, but it also helps calm my anxiety and the added bamboo and hibiscus have helped my hair, skin, and nails become healthier. I never knew that my favorite flower could add so much to my cooking and health, and was so much more than just beautiful.
If you love cooking with flowers, or love flowers, or simply just enjoy learning new things, some of these recipes might just be for you.
Unsure where to begin? Come into the New Kitchen Store and ask one of the employees and peruse or extensive spice selection. While you’re here enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea, we’re always happy to help you find the right item, or ingredient, for your kitchen.