Properly drying lavender that you plan to cook with is important for flavor. Use it for simple syrup, savory dishes, or ice creams.
If you grow lavender or like to visit lavender farms, storing dried lavender flowers is a great way to boost your herbs, make spice blends, or make gifts for the holidays.
What Is Culinary Lavender?
There are two types of lavender that are grown. Ornamental lavender, which is primarily used for decoration or essential oils. Also, culinary lavender, which is an edible lavender grown for flavor.
Culinary lavender is a special species of lavender plant that is more aromatic and becomes less bitter when cooked.
If you choose to grow culinary lavender of your own, grow munstead, lady, or hidcote. These are the most popular edible lavenders and are both beautiful to grow and great to eat.
Do You Need to Dry Lavender?
Drying lavender is only necessary if you want to keep the lavender flowers around long term. It is a method of preservation, not a requirement for use.
In fact, you can cook with lavender as soon as it is picked if you like. The floral flavor is much more mellow at this point, but it is extremely aromatic.
When to Pick Fresh Lavender
To dry a bunch of lavender for cooking, it is best to pick the lavender when the flowers are opened. This is when they are at their most aromatic.
Harvest the lavender plants about 6-10 inches below the lavender buds. This gives you enough stem to create a small bunch of lavender to hang upside down for drying.
How To Dry It Naturally
The best way to dry culinary lavender flowers is to gather a bunch of around 20-30 flowers and tie them together with twine or a rubber band to create a bunch. Use a clothespin or other device to hang it upside down for one to two weeks or until completely dry.
Choose a place that is cool, dark, and dry for best success. This helps the dry flowers maintain as much of the beautiful purple color as possible.
How To Dry It Quickly
If you don't have the time or space to dry lavender at home, you can still
You should do this at the lowest temperature your oven can go, usually around 200 degrees
Bake the edible lavender on a baking sheet still on the stem. It takes about 10 minutes, and should be dehyrdated until the stems are extremely brittle.
Gently pick the buds off of the stems and store them in dark, sealed container.
How To Store Dried Lavender
Just like with other dried herbs and spices, they lose flavor over time. The best way to prevent this is to store them correctly.
Start by choosing a container that has a strong seal and is dark to keep out light. Light makes lavender lose its floral flavor much faster.
Next, store it in a cool dark place. It should have a shelf life of six to twelve months depending on how well it is stored.
Uses For Edible Lavender
There are many different uses for culinary lavender, and they range from both sweet to savory. But cooking with lavender is a tricky thing because it very quickly overpowers other flavors.
To prevent this, always start with a small amount of lavender and add more to taste. I rarely go above a a teaspoon of dried lavender or a tablespoon of fresh.
Some of my favorite flavors that pair well with lavender are: lemon, honey, balsamic, thyme, chocolate, black pepper, and strawberry. If you need some more inspiration, I love this lavender flavor wheel.
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Happy Cooking! 🙂
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