CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Color my world… with lavender – it’s a real ‘scent’-sation, too

Lavender has so many uses, not to mention it smells wonderful.

A new lavender plant, in a well-weathered pot, is set to move out to my balcony for summer.

Lavender. If its loveliness isn’t enough to justify its existence, just wait for a gentle breeze and inhale: the aromatic herb’s knockout fragrance will doubtless seal the deal.

I have a friend who’s been a longtime lavender booster, and about four years ago I joined the fan club. And, as we’ve been discussing using herbs in the kitchen, let me say — modestly of course — that my lavender cookies have become legend.

Lavender can be used in many other baked goods, too. And, I also use powdered sugar flavored with lavender for the icing on my cookies. The same flavored sugar in a buttercream frosting recipe is perfect for cupcakes. (Adding a drop of red and a drop of blue food color creates a fabulous lavender hue.)

The aromatic is used to enhance the flavor of meats and stews in French cuisine, but I’ve never tried it for myself. Perhaps that’s something to experiment with this summer…

Or in the winter, after drying the remainder of the herb from this season’s garden.

Dried lavender also makes for a nice sachet to tuck in the drawer among the bed linens. In addition to the pleasantness of the aroma, it is said to have the healing effect of helping you relax and de-stress. And who doesn’t need that? In fact, bath and bed stores sell lavender-scented linen spray to spritz over freshly changed sheets and pillowcases.

I purchased a lavender plant the other day to put out on my balcony garden this summer. (In the meantime, it’s residing in the bedroom to provide a little instant aromatherapy.) I didn’t try to start it from seed because I attempted that once before and have to admit to utter and complete failure. The seeds never sprouted, even after I refrigerated them for two weeks and scored the pods.

I suppose I’ll try it again one day. After the pain of that pitiable first experience fades fully from mind (smile).

[If you have a formula for a tried-and-true homemade version of the lavender linen spray, please leave a comment and share it with us. Ditto for any other creative uses for lavender.]

[To check the archives for posts you may have missed, CLICK HERE.]

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11 Comments»

  Dawn/LittleGreenFingers wrote @

I’ve obviously been woefully underusing my lavender plants for years. I’d ask you to share the lavender cookie recipe if I wasn’t such a stranger to my own oven.

  Avis Weathersbee wrote @

Your kids would love the cookies … Though maybe not if you tell them they’re made with lavender 😉 I’ll have to make a post with the recipe later after I bake some and take a picture!

  Stephanie wrote @

I love the lavender fragrance from essential oil… very relaxing. I would keep a look out for those sugar with lavender fragrance here. Can use it for my tea… ok?

  Avis Weathersbee wrote @

Just put a frond of the lavender in the sugar canister and shake daily for a couple weeks. Then remove the frond and you’re good to go. Yes, you can use it for your hot or ice tea — or lemonade.

  Flora wrote @

What a great post – I love lavender but have never thought of making a cookie tasting of it! Unfortunately my lavender plant has aphids at the moment :o( I was wondering – what kind of lavender do you use? Are there any particular varieties that are better than other for cooking with? (maybe have a stronger scent or something…)

  Avis Weathersbee wrote @

Hi Flora,
I usually plant the munsted (English) lavender, which I’ve used in my cookies, but it looks a little different from the lavender I buy from the Whole Foods store when I don’t have my own, and that works perfectly in the cookies, too. I also use the lavender from the Whole Foods store, mixed in among the herbs, for the cookies. The plant I just purchased that you see here is French lavender. I’m not sure how it would work in cookies, but maybe I’ll give it a try. (I have some munsted lavender ordered, so I should have it soon.)

  Flora wrote @

Thanks for that – I’m certainly going to give cooking with lavender a try – once I’ve solved the aphid infestation on my plants anyhow. Maybe i’ll just cheat and buy a new healthy one as I think both of my plants are French lavenders and I’d quite like an English lavender too 🙂

  Sandy wrote @

I was in Hokkaido, Japan last summer, and one thing I miss from time to time is the lavender ice cream that is sold in many of its lavender fields. The ice cream is very good! It is one of its kind, rarely there is an ice cream that people loves for its fragrance.

Too bad I don’t have a recipe, yet it appears that there are many available online.

  Avis Weathersbee wrote @

Sandy,
Lavender ice cream sounds divine… Or maybe a lavender gelato. If anyone has a great recipe, pass it on to us. I’ll look around for one, too!

  Lynne wrote @

Please! No more teasing with the infamous lavender cookies!! I envy you that plant from the supermkt. Rarely do i have that kind of luck!!!

  ChrisND wrote @

I am trying to grow lavender from seed this year…our first year for this plant. I am hoping to get some great herb uses out of it….never considered cookies until now. Well, the seedlings are growing indoors okay…waiting to go outside.


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