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A Little Bit of Lavender

Saturday, August 10, 2013 @ 08:08 AM

I love everything about lavender: the grey leaves, the wonderful array of colours (dark blue is my favourite) the evocative smell and the fact that if you don’t water it, it seems to positively thrive ;-) I could look at pictures of lavender fields all day – blue ridges dreamily stretching for miles in hazy summer sunshine. It’s a long held dream to live on a lavender farm. Unlikely unfortunately, but the next best thing is to visit one :)

Lavender fields

I’ve done some rooting around, and come up with a Woolly Green list of lavender farms that anyone can visitSomerset Lavender is the closest to me, so I’m off there this week. I think it will do me some good and there’s quite a bit of evidence to back me up.

The name ‘Lavender’ or Lavandula actually comes from the Latin lavare ‘to wash’ (ooh get me!) because it’s oils were used originally in cleaning clothes – and presumably ‘de-whiffing’ them too ;-)

Later, during the Middle Ages, lavender was recognised by apothecaries for its cure–all properties, and grown as a herb in gardens; by the 19th century there was small–scale production within reach of London’s markets but, gradually, disease, urbanisation and the development of cheaper, synthetic perfumes saw lavender production die out in the late 1800s.

As it is neither sweet nor savoury, good cooks use lavender to soften sharp fruits such as gooseberries and rhubarb, lessening the need for sugar. And its scent works wonderfully with sharp citric flavours: – any recipe that is lemon based can work well with lavender, so have a go and let us know how you get on :) Dried lavender flowers can be used to make a delicately scented shortbread, or scattered over roast beef.

I’m going take some leaves to dry as a herb and have a go at my own version of herbes de Provence which blends thyme, fennel, savory, marjoram, rosemary and lavender.

My version will be known as herbes de Somerset (!) Well, it has been a lovely summer :)

Dried Lavender

Useful Links

Lavender farms
Drying herbs
Growing herbs

2 thoughts on “A Little Bit of Lavender

  1. Olga van Saane

    Lovely post! I love lavender, grow it en masse. And the idea of making your own dry herb mixes is so good and comes naturally to you, when you grow your own! However I’d kindly warn you about adding lavender to savory mixes, I’d leave it for sweet dishes, deserts and drinks. As you know, it has a very strong and, somehow, refresher-associated aroma, and not everyone appreciates when her sauce or soup smells like potpourri. :) Been there, done it all. I make herbal water, with lavender and lemon, or add lavender to ice-cream deserts – in the heat of this Summer (great for lavender, though!). I have a herb garden, my beautiful experimental lab, and cook with herbs, make my mixes, can’t imagine not having fresh or dried herbs in our daily meals… Also, seen a photograph of yours of drying lavender, I remember to start harvesting it today. And it’ll smell delicious again, in the small room under the stairs where I dry and store my herbs…Thank you for writing about lavender – the garden is incomplete without it. I plant it along pathwalks and terraces – when i pass by and touch it, accidentally, it fills air with fragrance. Beautiful…

    Reply
  2. Helen

    Thanks for your blog…really interesting and useful…you have now inspired my to dry and keep in a spare bedroom liven it up a little with its beautiful sent and stunning colour.
    I also am wanting to create a large border in my garden but I hear it actually needs to be carefully looked after. I wanted to create this border using English Lavender as I want my garden to reflect my English country cottage.
    Ideally I wanted to have a good chat to someone who really knows lavender inside out; so whilst visiting some friends in Hertfordshire in a few weeks time I am going to call into Cadwell Farm Lavender in Hitchin so thank you for the link to them.
    I created a really refreshing Lavender and Lemon Cooler Cocktail which might be interesting to you; please take a look http://www.qualitygardensupplies.co.uk/gardening-blog/lavender-lemon-cocktail
    Thanks

    Reply

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