Saturday, August 7, 2010
I’m sure that I have experienced lavender in some way over the years but I don’t believe I ever acknowledged that experience. My first real exposure to lavender came when I visited my local spa for a massage. I was in a peacefully decorated room surrounded with the most fresh and delicate scent. Of course that was the scent of lavender. I have been a fan of it since that time.
A few years ago I had an empty spot in my garden and chose two lavender plants to fill the space. They did surprisingly well and produced an abundance of flowers. Last year I left the blossoms on the plant because they were a pretty addition to the garden. Over the winter, I ran across instructions for making bath sachets using lavender flowers. The instructions were simple: place dried lavender flowers and Epsom salt in a little pouch made from cheesecloth. The cheesecloth is meant to keep all the dried flowers from clogging the tub drain. I waited all winter and spring before I could harvest my own crop of lavender for this craft project.
Once the crop was harvested, it was time to gather supplies. I cut the lavender and set it out to dry and then pulled the dried buds from the stems. It smelled great! Instead of making cheesecloth bags, I decided to recycle my silk teabags. I split them up the side, filled them with lavender flowers and sewed them back up. Of course they were too small to include the Epson salt but it shouldn’t be a problem just sprinkling that into the water. I was right, it wasn’t a problem. What a lovely soak I had with my lavender tea bags and Epson salts.
While I was thinking about lavender I decided to do a little research on the subject. I discovered that Queen Victoria of England made lavender popular across England. She used it to wash floors and furniture, to freshen the air and had it placed among the linens to freshen them. Queen Elizabeth I drank lavender tea to help ease her migraines. The French continue to send baby lambs to graze in fields of lavender so that their meat will be tender and fragrant. Lavender is actually a member of the mint family and is close to rosemary, sage and thyme in its characteristics. I have seen containers of dried lavender in cooking stores but have never thought to use it in that manner.
Curious about the culinary uses for lavender, I did a little research.
A lavender sorbet recipe immediately caught my attention. The recipe calls for sugar, water, lavender flowers, lemon juice and vodka (to keep the frozen mixture soft and smooth). It was a simple enough recipe to pull together. Oh my, what an interesting dessert. It seemed like I was eating pure sugar mixed with scented lotion. To give it a fair try, I nibbled on the sorbet over a few days. Give it a try if you have an adventuresome palate. It may actually be the perfect dessert because it satisfies your sweet tooth while soothing your senses.
As for me, I think I’ll keep lavender out of my kitchen and in my bathroom.