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Why you need to add lavender to your herb garden

by Timber Press on May 22, 2017

in Design, Food, Gardening

All photos by Janet Loughrey.

Edible herb gardens are as trendy as they are useful, and lavender can add color, fragrance, and a distinct floral flavor. With these suggestions for the best culinary varieties and three delicious lavender-obsessed recipes, you’ll be adding lavender to the mix immediately!

More and more people are realizing the benefit of growing their own herbs for to use in the kitchen. Herbs can be dried and saved for later or used fresh right out of the garden. Lavender requires the same care as many other herbs. It likes well-draining soil, full sun, and occasional pruning throughout the summer. Keep a large container of planted herbs you use frequently near your kitchen door so you can easily snip a few sprigs when cooking.

Lavender, rosemary, sage, and other herbal edibles.

Best Lavenders for Culinary Use

These varieties have proved to taste the best in favorite recipes:
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Buena Vista’
L. angustifolia ‘Folgate’
L. angustifolia ‘Hidcote Pink’
L. angustifolia ‘Melissa’
L. angustifolia ‘Royal Velvet’

LAVENDER LEMONADE

Serves 6
There’s nothing better than a cold glass of lavender lemonade on a hot summer day. Get ready to make copies of this recipe for whoever tries it.

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup sugar or honey
  • 2 tablespoons dried lavender buds or
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lavender
  • 1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • Lavender sprigs for garnish

1. Combine the water, sugar or honey, and lavender in a saucepan and heat for approximately 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from the heat and allow to steep until cool, about 20 minutes.
2. Pour the mixture through a fine-screened colander or cheesecloth into a pitcher. Add the lemon juice and stir. Serve in glasses filled with ice and garnished with a lavender sprig or lemon wheel.

HERBES DE PROVENCE

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender buds
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried summer savory leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram leaves

Mix all of the ingredients well and crush with a mortar and pestle or use an herb grinder. Store the mixture in an airtight glass or ceramic container for up to several months.

MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 4 cups diced fresh tomatoes or 2 large cans (up to 32 ounces total) of diced tomatoes, drained
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons herbes de Provence (
  • 8 ounces pasta (rotini, farfalle, penne, or fusilli work well), cooked
  • ½ cup halved kalamata olives
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons white wine in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cubed chicken and sauté for 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Sauté the garlic in the pan drippings for 30 seconds, then add the onion and sauté an additional 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, then add ½ cup of white wine and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the herbes de Provence and simmer
for 5 more minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the pasta as directed and set aside.
3. Return the chicken to the skillet and cover. Simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. Add the olives and the pasta to the mixture and simmer, stirring for 1 minute.
4. Sprinkle with the feta cheese and fresh parsley and serve.

 

Sarah Bader is the owner and operator of Lavender at Stonegate, one of the country’s most successful lavender farms, offering mail order plant and lavender products. Sarah and her farm have been featured in regional publications, on television and radio, and in Grower Talks and Country Gardens magazines.

 

 

 

 

“The best recent all-around lavender book with something for gardeners, crafters, and cooks alike.” —Library Journal

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