Lavender – Easy to Grow, Great for Cooking

lavender

Who doesn’t love the look and aroma of these spiked flowers? They represent purity, serenity, grace and devotion. They’re fragrance can fill a room with quiet sweetness.

I love to cook with lavender. You can use any type, but English lavenders have the best oils and aromatics for cooking. It can be used in sweet or savory dishes!

lavender

It has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. A little rubbed on a burn or a cut for a little relief and healing.

It’s great for keeping away mosquitos. Keep a plant on or near your deck or patio and rub some flowers on your skin. Mosquitos will move on!

Types of Lavender 

Here is a brief explanation of the types of lavender, how to grow them, and when to harvest them. Future posts will include preserving and using the plant.

English Lavender – The most popular.

It’s also called common or true lavender. This is the best variety for culinary use. The bloom in early to mid-summer with bright blue, purple and even white flowers. My favorite varieties of English lavender are Hidcote and Munstead.

lavender

 

English lavender is the one used most in cooking or making teas. If you do not grow it yourself, be sure what you are buying is culinary grade. Much of the lavender purchased for crafts has been treated and cannot be ingested.

Lavindin is a hybrid of English lavender and Portuguese. The latter is being a little more heat tolerant. This variety is a good cooking choice as well. My favorite is Grosso.

 

 

This variety is not only a good one for culinary use, it also has the strongest fragrance. These are great for producing oils, drying for potpourri, or putting in a vase on your coffee table.

French Lavender, also called fringed lavender

Blooming from early summer and keeps going into fall, it’s not as fragrant as English lavender and has almost the fragrance of rosemary. This makes it a good choice for savory dishes.

lavender

This one is great to use in a pillow or sleep mask. It has a high amount of camphor and could help with snoring or sinus issues at night.

French lavender is often used in soaps and home cleaning products. The fragrance is strong and again, the camphor adds it’s antibacterial properties.

Like the lavindin, French is great for skin oils and fresh cut flowers.

Portuguese Lavender

Also called spike lavender, is a strong fragranced flower. The stems are long making it perfect for making lavender wands. It blooms from late Spring into late Summer.

Spanish lavender is also referred to as butterfly lavender.

The blossoms have a little “wing” at the top giving it a fringed look. Blooming from mid-Spring to late-Summer, the flowers are not nearly as fragrant as the leaves.

lavender

Both the Portuguese and Spanish are great for drawing pollinators like bees and butterflies into your garden. They are good for crafts, oils and cosmetics.

Growing lavender is pretty easy.

I don’t fertilize, but I water often. Although as with most herbs, they are fairly drought tolerant. They start out small but grow to decent sized bushes.

Harvesting depends on what you are using it for. For cooking, lavender needs to be blooming. You can use the leaves, but the fragrance and aromatics are in the flowers. If you using them as ornamental flowers, cut them when the just start to bloom and the blossoms are tight.

It’s best to cut it in the morning when all the oils are in the blossoms. As the day wears on, the plant puts its energy into the roots. The oils will be richer in the blossoms after an evening of rest.

I hope this gives you the basics for growing your own plants. The best time to plant is after the first frost in the spring.

So start thinking about which variety you’ll want to grow. And come back for instructions on drying and preserving herbs in general! And let me know what you think? Need more info? Have info to add? I love to hear it all and learn more.

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6 Responses to Lavender – Easy to Grow, Great for Cooking

  1. Paula says:

    I’m so glad I read this today I had no idea you can cook with lavender. I was today years old (52) when I learned this.
    Visiting today from SSPS 310 #44&46

  2. Bernadette says:

    Thanks for the excellent tutorial on planting lavendar.

  3. This post is one of my features for this week’s SSPS, thank you for sharing with us. Pinned. Melynda @scratchmadefood!

  4. Pingback: Homestead Blog Hop 498 – Lavender, Baked Apples, and Tea - Simple Life Mom

  5. Pingback: Homestead Blog Hop 498 - Ridge Haven Homestead

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