Lavender, More Than Just A Fragrance… - TheBritishBaker Blog at - 172038


Lavender, more than just a fragrance… 
Apr. 27, 2010 10:02 am 
Updated: Sep. 18, 2010 4:23 pm

[   Lavender

More than just a fragrance…

I really do adore Lavender and the fragrance always reminds me of my cottage garden back in England.  There was nothing I loved move in summer (When it wasn’t raining) to throw up the old sash windows and allow the fragrance of the lavender path to drift through. 

Queen Victoria was a great enthusiast in the use of lavender. She appointed a Miss Sarah Sprules “ Purvey of Lavender Essence to the Queen.” Lavender was very fashionable among the ladies of that time. They bought the Lavender from street sellers. Fresh lavender was dried and put into muslin bags for wardrobes, used to wash walls and furniture and lavender bags were stuffed between sheets in linen presses. Lavender was used to repel the insects, treat lice, as a perfume and a potpourri, in furniture polish and soap and as a cure-all in household medicine cupboards. Smaller bags were made for young women to wear in their cleavage in hopes of attracting a suitor!!!

For many months I have thought about cooking with Lavender.  But never really dared, I know I love the fragrance but could I cope with it as an ingredient in food or would I just feel like I had a mouth full of flowers?  Last week I finally decided to be brave, I popped into town to my usual two cooking stores Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma.  Usually both stores have all the cooking essentials that I need.  Unfortunately neither stores stocked dry Culinary Lavender.  I know you are thinking I wonder why!!!  Now what, so I walked around the corner and tried the store I should have gone to in the first place Penzey’s spice’s (oh how I love that store).  I walked in head held high and asked for my requirement.  There was no sniggers, no did she really ask for Lavender to cook with, when they thought I was out of earshot, no one thought I was a crazy Brit girl and the answer “Yes of course, we have it behind the counter”.  Oh thank, you, thank you, thank you.  So I brought the Lavender, now I just had to cook with it…

I decided to make the next day my experiment day.

I made a batch of Lavender shortbread, Lavender Milk and also Lavender and Honey cupcakes.  Everything tasted delicious, a little different.  A taste that I am pretty sure I have never tasted before.  I am going to be honest here, I am glad I experimented with the Lavender, I enjoyed the taste but it’s not something I would want to eat every day but it did make a refreshing change.  My eldest son ate everything, although he said they tasted a little unusual.  I waited until he was on the last of the cupcakes before I confessed the secret ingredient.  I thought I was going to have to perform the Heimlich maneuver!  Oh well, nothing like still being able to surprise your offspring!  It’s a good job I didn’t mention the recipe I came across for fried dandelions….

The rest of the Lavender I have put to good use making some gorgeous smelling Moth Repellent Sachets.  I don’t have a problem with moths that I know of, so can’t say for sure whether these really work, but they leave my closets and drawers smelling heavenly…

Lavender, Wormwood and Sage Moth Repellent Sachets

2 Tablespoons dried Rosemary Leaves

2 Tablespoon dried Wormwood Leaves (Artemisia Absinthium)

2 Tablespoons dried Lavender

2 Tablespoons Dried Sage

Dash of Vodka

2 x small circles of Fabric

Ribbon or Raffia

Mix together all the dry ingredients in an open shallow bowl, sprinkle with a dash of vodka (this will bring out more of the fragrance).

Put a little of the dried herb mixture into the centre of a small muslin circle, tie with the ribbon or raffia.  Do the same with the other piece of fabric.

Pop the herbal sachets into cupboards and drawers to fragrance and help to deter moths.  When they stop smelling, give them a squeeze and a little tap to release more votive oils.  The next time, these will have to be replaced.

Honey and Lavender Cupcakes
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Lavender Milk
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Lavender Shortbread Cookies
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Honey and Lavender Cupcakes
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Lavender, Wormwood and Sage Moth Repellent Sachets
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Lavender, Wormwood and Sage Moth Repellent Sachets
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Apr. 27, 2010 10:13 am
I love Lavender!! I actually bought some not long ago after having wonderful dark chocolates flavored with Lavender. Beautiful pictures!!
Apr. 27, 2010 10:17 am
These really are beautiful photos. You have an eye. Thanks for sharing the experiment!
Apr. 27, 2010 10:17 am
Thank you Kathleen, I know I will cook with it again in the future. Now chocolates thats an idea!
Apr. 27, 2010 10:17 am
Welcome back and thank you Dutch girl...
Apr. 27, 2010 10:34 am
Everything looks beautiful and I have always wondered about lavander but never tried cooking with it ;)
Apr. 27, 2010 10:57 am
If you love Penzey's spice make sure you get on their mailing list for the catalog. They always have great recipes using spices they carry. Great pics and wonderful looking sweets and sachet.
Apr. 27, 2010 11:04 am
The pictures are beautiful, I can smell the lavender!! I was wondering if it had a slight perfume taste to it? I have had it in a loose tea my mother had brought back from Thailand. I believe it also had morning glory in it too. You always out do yourself apple.strudel : )
Apr. 27, 2010 11:32 am
Luvs2Bake - Thank you, I am on Penzey's mailing list, just love their catalog. Welcome back Dragonfly22, thank you for your kind words. I guess it did have a slight perfume taste, nothing that was overpowering, just something a little different. HI SB, you really should give it a try, I always say you have to try everything at least the once!
Apr. 27, 2010 1:25 pm
I am just waiting til our local farmer's market opens next week to buy fresh lavender. I was too chicken to try it last year, but now I'm fearless! I love the aroma too. Thanks for the ideas. Are the recipes in your box?
Apr. 27, 2010 3:04 pm
Good on you BSM, The lavender shortbread is off this site, the Lavender and Honey cupcakes is off I will find the recipe and add the link for you. Let me know how they work out...
Apr. 27, 2010 3:05 pm
Apr. 27, 2010 4:29 pm
I knew that in aroma therapy, lavender is a stress buster that is used to soothe and relax, but I must confess that I had never thought to bake with it. Thank you for a wonderful blog (as usual), beautiful pictures and food for thought. :D (I know, I know...2/3 of a pun....)
Apr. 27, 2010 5:45 pm
Your pictures are wonderful, and the recipes all sound so yummy! I'll definitely be trying these out. Thanks for the great ideas. Also, thanks for the mini history of lavender in England. I'm a history major, so tidbits like that are really fascinating to me :)
Apr. 28, 2010 7:19 am
I actually just bought some dried lavender for the first time yesterday, not totally sure what I would make with it, but I was intrigued when I saw it. I actually found it in the spices section of Walmart, apparently it is one of the new spices offered by McCormick's (I'm not sure if you get McCormick's in the States or not, I live in Canada, as my name suggests) Thanks for the serving suggestions, the desserts look delicious. I noticed my bottle of lavender also says it can be used to season meats, I will have to experiment with that one to see what works!
Apr. 28, 2010 8:03 am
Hi Carebare, do you have that recipe of the bath soak to share, would love to try it.
Apr. 28, 2010 8:10 am
Everything looks wonderful. I too love lavender and think the smell is completely intoxicating. It's also wonderful in lemonade. A totally different way of having that and somehow a very sophisticated way. One of my most favorite bloggers on this site wrote about lavender last summer here is the link to her blog for more ideas. Followed by a link to the uses for lavender she grew. for a crafty idea........
Apr. 28, 2010 9:28 am
Thank you Avon, I am getting an error loading blog message, I will try again later. Sounds interesting.
Apr. 28, 2010 3:02 pm ~~ this is the craft project. I remember reading this after I could no longer get the lavender. Here is the recipe post
Apr. 28, 2010 3:29 pm
Lavender is one of my favourite scents. It is great to place in your pillow case when you have a headache. I have never tried cooking with it, may venture there one day.
Apr. 28, 2010 5:01 pm
I love the scent and the taste of lavender! You might want to give this bread a try!
Apr. 28, 2010 5:03 pm
Hello, AppleS! I noticed your pictures (lovely) of the lavender shortbread, since you posted shortbread pic the same day I posted (Ta da!) shortbread pic! I'll write you at the other site. I've eaten lavender here, as the Japanese who DO home baking love to experiment, too. I think the closet sachets are the best path for lavender, but can definitely see this as a ladies' tea contribution. So pretty, and would offer a topic of conversation.
Apr. 28, 2010 5:16 pm
Thank you BigShotsMom - I will take a look at those blogs now. redneck gramma - You really should try and cook with Lavender, makes a nice change. sueb - Thank you I will take a look at that recipe, if its as wonderful as your Biscotti I know I will love it. Hezzy_tant_Cook - Welcome back, the closet sachets are wonderful, I just love their scent. Your shortbread pictures look pretty!
Apr. 29, 2010 8:15 am
Wow those are gorgeous! I've been wanting to bake with lavendar but have trouble finding it. I'll have to go to Penzys again.....theyre amazing I love it there. Do you know how you use it to repel insects? My dog has been trailing in an abundance of ticks and they've been finding their way onto me (gross) and I cant stand it anymore.
Apr. 29, 2010 11:11 am
Hi Jessica, that you for your comments. Really not sure how to help with the insect repellent. Too be honest with ticks I think I would be after something chemical from the vet, hate those things!
Apr. 29, 2010 7:50 pm
What a wonderful blog! I want to try lavendar something or other now.I love the scent, too!!
Apr. 29, 2010 7:51 pm
Last summer I took a course on herbs. The teacher was a big fan of lavender. We made lavender tea and she offered lavender scones and several other baked goods including lavender. She actually mail ordered it, she told us, because she couldn't grow enough to meet the demands of her customers and still have enough to use for herself. Great blog, and wonderful pictures!
Apr. 29, 2010 7:53 pm
WW - You really should try Lavender, I am pretty sure on your world travels there must be a recipe out there to use! Thank you for your comments Pam-3BoysMama, glad you enjoyed the blog.
Apr. 29, 2010 9:26 pm
Hi apple.strudel! I've never been a huge fan of lavender myself (a woman in my family is mad for it and has always worn it. I'm not crazy about her, so it's likely psychological). BUT, I'm giving a bridal shower for my friend's wedding next weekend, and her wedding colors are chocolate brown and lavender, so I thought it might be fun to have real chocolate and lavender favors to give to guests. I don't know why I'm making this story so long, but the end is that I like the idea of the lavender shortbread and wonder what recipe you use for it. Thanks for anything you've got. Other ideas are welcome if you've got any, just remember I'm not a great or enthusiastic baker or decorator - ha. Your blog is fun - loved the poisoning of your eldest; I've done that myself. Thanks! :D
Apr. 30, 2010 4:59 am
Morning SB I used this recipe off this site, the main key to shortbread is not to overcook them, also some people rolled and just sliced where as I prefer to use a cookie cutter. I sprinkled before baking with silver sugar.... Good luck with the favors, loved your post it made me laugh...
Apr. 30, 2010 5:23 am
Loved this topic! One of the tastiest desserts I've ever had were lemon & lavender cupcakes topped with a (slightly) lemon-flavored whipped cream... they were soooo divine!
Apr. 30, 2010 7:43 am
Cat_1970 - Thank you for stopping by. Wow you live in Turkey, how interesting that must be.
Apr. 30, 2010 12:24 pm
Oh, how I wish Violet was as popular as THAT is the smell that really "sends me"! I've had violet candies, and there is a violette liqueor...I was considering putting some lavender in my garden this just closed the deal! Thanks for great blog!
Apr. 30, 2010 1:44 pm
You can look for Herbes de Provence blends that include dried lavendar. It is HEAVENLY on roast chicken!
Apr. 30, 2010 4:39 pm
I too, love lavender. Can you possibly tell me why, after starting from seeds only one out of the whole package sprouted? While all of my other herbs and veggies are at least 4" tall, only one sprout is barely 1/4" tall. Beautiful pics! TIA!
Apr. 30, 2010 4:56 pm
MrsWag - Never grown lavender from seed only ever grown from cuttings, I wonder whether the problem was with the actual seeds.
Apr. 30, 2010 7:48 pm
Thank you! :)
Apr. 30, 2010 8:26 pm
I too love the smell of lavender and at the moment am trying to grow some! Your pictures were wonderful and looked SO elegant! A.S, you make me feel like i'm in England and i love to read your blogs and find out SOO many more interesting facts about there! I have inherited the name of Howard,quite english,huh!
Apr. 30, 2010 10:53 pm
I live in Sequim Washington USA where we have many lavender farms. One thing to keep in mind - while all lavenders are THEORETICALLY edible some are grown specifically to be eaten and they taste much better than the lavenders grown for sachet! The lavenders grown for sachet may have an unpleasant medicinal taste. Be sure you buy CULINARY LAVENDER and you will be happier with the results. Also, lavender grows best from cuttings, not seeds. There is one cultivar "lavender lady" which is commonly sold in seeds but it is NOT a choice cultivar. Sequim has a lavender festival coming up in July which is a fun and educational event. You can find all things lavender at the festival. Google "lavender festival, +Sequim" for more info.
May 1, 2010 3:28 am
Lavender, who doesnt Love it. lol I have a suggestion, Try putting a little in your regular spice blends for chicken and steak its great.
May 1, 2010 3:56 am
I LOVE lavender! I have tons of it in my garden near my roses, and we cook with it every now and then. Shortbread is good, and I also make rosemary shortbread. My dream is to have an English cottage garden someday!
May 1, 2010 7:32 am
*Cozycook* - Thank you for the kind words, I always try and include a little of my British Heretage into my blogs, its part of me after all... Corby149 You are so right, I guess by using culinary Lavender you know its not been sprayed with harmful pesticides. Thank you southernshoe I will certainly have to give that a try. Hello jrbaker, I really miss my cottage garden, I have tried to grow so many herbs here in Illinois but they just keep dying on me!
Peggy Howell 
May 1, 2010 9:59 am
Enjoyed your article on Lavender. The best carrots ever were eaten at Biltmore House Restaurant. Just cooked carrots, butter, salt and pepper and fresh Lavender. Try it.
May 1, 2010 11:46 am
I made a creme brule once using lavender (I grow my own..a few different kinds). I just steeped it in the milk/half and half for a short while (I didn't want it too strong). It was magnifique! The taste was subtle but enough to tell you it was different. I wouldn't say till they guessed.
May 1, 2010 1:49 pm
You missed my favorite -- Lavender lemonade. Steep 1/4 cup lavender in 1 quart boiling water. Add 1/2 cup sugar. Let cool and add the juice of 8 lemons. Dilute to taste, approximately another quart of cold spring water, and serve over ice. For a dramatic effect, pour sweetened tea into a large clear pitcher. Squeeze lemons into a small pitcher. Take both pitchers out to the guests, along with a quart of cold spring water and glasses of ice cubes. As you add the lemon juice to the lavender tea, it will turn pink! Serve over ice, diluted with spring water.
May 1, 2010 8:36 pm
I love lavender! I love the way it looks and the way it smells and the color..... I just have one massive issue! I am SOOO allergic to it, its not even funny, I come out in a measle type rash, I get hives and in extreme cases my skin burns! In my last job I had to empty a post box and right underneath it was a lavender shrub, I had been doing the job for years before it happened but I dropped a letter into the shrub, obviously I couldn't leave it there, I had to put my hand in and pull it out! Within seconds my skin was red and burning and it was weeks before the rash went away!!! It's a horrible thing to be allergic to, lavender oil is great for all sorts of things and I can't reap the benefits... :o(
May 2, 2010 4:08 pm
Many years ago I had steamed Penn Cove mussels in a lavender saffron cream sauce...I haven't quite replicated the sauce yet!
May 2, 2010 4:22 pm
I am a huge fan of the aromatherapuetic uses for lavender and in the last couple years experienced the culinary side of one of my favorite floras. I recently tried a lavender flavored soda pop and it was delightful. Also lavender and honey are a wonderful combination!
May 2, 2010 4:42 pm
Ahh lavender one of my favorites. I've used it to relieve stress, made a lovely tea from it. I give it to new Moms in a sachet for baby showers they say it relieves their headaches. Just saw a new variety with the loveliest flower but it won't overwinter here in MO so darn it, it had to stay at the nursery. My Munstead has not failed me yet!
May 2, 2010 5:57 pm
I've been cooking with lavender for several years. One of my guests favorites is Blueberry-Lavender Jam. Also make a Plain Lavender Jelly that is wonderful with cream cheese on a English muffin. This year I'm planning a jelly made with Queen Annes' Lace flowers and lavender and call it Lavender and Lace. Lavender lemonade is fantastic.
May 2, 2010 6:18 pm
I have a dear friend who makes lavender sorbet for me at least once every summer. It's so refreshing. I have myself made rose petal jelly when my June bloomers went crazy. It was lemony. Friends loved it. Keep experimenting!!!
May 2, 2010 6:43 pm
I think this is so lovely!! Thanks very much I <3 Lavender very much!!! :) I am interested in using more flowers in cooking and baking :)
May 3, 2010 11:11 am
Thank you so much everyone for all your comments, so pleased you enjoyed the blog. I have picked up some excellent tips from you as well...
May 3, 2010 12:58 pm
Thanks for the lovely post! Like many others here, I love lavender. You can buy food-grade lavender at, which is based in Chicago. I love their lavender vanilla sugar - great in tea or even on toast!
May 3, 2010 2:54 pm
Lavender is one of the herbs in herbs de provance. I love to add it to a roast chicken with potatoes, or roasted ratatoullie. It has a light flavor of flowers, like cardamom, and it mixes well with the others. Never thought to use it alone, but those cookies are speaking to me.
May 4, 2010 9:16 am
When we were in Disney World, we went to Epcot and one of the "countries" had little lavender candies. They were so good, and I have wanted to cook with it since. I bet the cupcakes were good!
May 4, 2010 12:42 pm
what interesting timing- I just bought dried lavender for the first time last week as well, after falling in love with the lavender ice cream at a local shop. I made the lavender tea bread and lavender lemonade from this site and fell even more in love!! It's soothing, springy and tasty and instantly put me in a relaxed mood, plus it was fun to do something a little different. It's amazing how well lavender and lemon go together, and look forward to experimenting with this more and finding other combos that work. Thanks for the further inspiration! The cupcakes are beautiful!
May 4, 2010 2:53 pm
about 3 years ago I sampled Lavender cookies at a Women's conference and I was hooked,...that was on a Saturday. I managed to get the recipe and after scouring every grocery store, health food store and plant nursery in my area I managed to find culinary lavender on-line and ordered it and was baking with it the following Saturday! I have found that my friends and family either really like it or not at all. Now of course I can find it all over the place!
May 4, 2010 3:12 pm
apple.strudel sorry to hear you haven't had much luck growing herbs. When I lived in Iowa (supposedly the same hardiness zone) I had good luck with sage, thyme, savory, lovage, oregano, chives, dill, bergamot (the flavor in earl grey tea) mints & munstead lavender. Marjoram made it through 1 winter but I lost it the next. Basil did well as an annual. I hope you'll keep trying. Are you having problems overwintering or do they just up & die on you?
Lee B 
May 4, 2010 3:27 pm
Sounds like you are really enjoying yourself! Speaking of jellies..I make a violet jelly that is such a beautiful addition to gift baskets. Your pics are always beautiful, thanks for sharing.
May 4, 2010 5:51 pm
I live in Alberta, Canada. Where do I buy Lavender? It is my favorite smell and I would love to try cooking with it.
May 5, 2010 7:39 am
Isapaidal - I brought my lavender from my local spice company (Penzeys) but you would be better looking for it online if you don't have a store near by, although One lady Canuckcook commented above that she actually found it in the spices section of Walmart, apparently it is one of the new spices offered by McCormick's! Hope this helps!
May 5, 2010 3:56 pm
I use lavender on my moms things for its relaxing qualities. Amazing how it helps. One of my seamstresses makes delicate cookies with it - so deliciously light and sweet.
Jun. 9, 2010 3:42 am
Such lovely recipes! I saw a recipe for lavender lemonade recently, and wanted to try it. Now, if my lavender plants at home will only bloom!
Sep. 18, 2010 4:23 pm
Thanks! I can't wait to try some of these now that I bought some lavendar. :)
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About Me
A little about me, I am a wife and Mum of two gorgeous boys aged 18 and 23, and now mummy to two adorable English Cocker Spaniel puppies named Brie and Henri. We have been living in the US now for 5 years. (You will also see me on - AR's UK site). I guess like most other European’s I don’t eat to live, but live to eat!!! One of my great passions in life is food. Good home cooked, fresh produce. Especially if it is sourced locally. I truly believe that it is so important at the end of the day for a family to sit down and eat a home cooked dinner together. I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen now, which always amuses my husband. A few years back we had a small public house and restaurant in the Derbyshire Countryside (England). Never once would I venture in the kitchen. With all those professionals there was certainly no need for an amateur! Should you wish you can contact me at
My favorite things to cook
More than anything I adore baking. Cakes, Cookies (or biscuits as they are known to me) and my latest love is baking bread.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Some of my earlier memories are sitting at my Grandma’s kitchen table in England, watching her bake. She insisted on having to bake a fresh cake everyday. My Grandad was a big cake fan, and a cake always had to be kept in the pantry just in case a visitor should call. Not that you could move in the pantry for more sugar, flour and butter then any village store. (Just in case food rationing ever came back). Unfortunately my Grandma has recently passed away, but her passion for baking will always live on through me and I hope that in time my baking skill will do her justice.
My cooking triumphs
Anything that actually turns out how it is supposed too!!!
My cooking tragedies
Oh my goodness where do I start, like everyone I have had the usual tragedies, sponge cakes that have sunk in the middle, over cooked pie crusts, bread that has just failed to rise but I can thankfully say with a little patience and practice I am finaly getting better!!!
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