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cooking with lavender

Lavender is of course the go to plant for skin care and aromatherapy, but it can hold its own with the rest of the mints and spices in the kitchen cupboard.

I discovered Herbes de Provence a while back, a spice mix that contains a good quantity of lavender, and it keeps finding its way on every roast and in every stew ever since. You can substitute lavender for rosemary in recipes that call for the latter, add it to breads and custards, or mix it in salad dressings. Lavender honey is quite a wonderful delicacy for the breakfast table.

Lavender honey can be the one produced by bees who collect their nectar in lavender fields, but it is more likely any type of honey infused with lavender buds. The honey/flower bud mixture is heated in a double boiler until it gets saturated with fragrance and then the buds are strained out. If you are fond of Provençal desserts try the sophisticated lavender honey ice cream.

Not all lavenders are good for cooking, most varieties are too harsh and their strong fragrance can overpower foods. Try a sweet and mild variety, like English lavender, Provence or Melissa.

If you have cooking herbs in your garden, you certainly noticed what a difference the fresh ones make in recipes that normally call for dried, and this is true for lavender too.

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