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Healing lavender and how to cook with

by skating tomato (follow)
Therapeutic Foods (52)      Herbal Medicine (19)     
As someone who grew up in a garden overrun with alluring lavender bushes, this striking plant will always be reminiscent of warm afternoons outdoors with chilled drinks and banquets of fresh salads. However, if you were to look beyond the picture perfect poise of this much loved herb, you would find a versatile and widely used medicinal and healing staple.

courtesy of Pixabay

Lavender can, and is, used for topical application, in food, for inhalation in aromatherapy, added to bathwater, and in many manufacturing and cosmetic trades. The incredible and versatile lavender has been used for centuries - treasured by Romans, Egyptians and Greeks alike - so why not experiment with this beautiful herb today?

The healing magic of lavender
Suffer from migraines? Lavender oil is often used to combat this painful and debilitating condition, most effectively at the early stages, and can be used to rub on your temples or wrists, or lightly dabbed on your pillow.

Using lavender oil to fight acne can be an effective way to treat affected skin without the use of harmful chemicals. When used neat or diluted with water and/or other essential oils, lavender can help soothe the skin and reduce blemishes.

You may be surprised at how quickly lavender oil can combat the itching, swelling, and redness of bug bites and minor wounds, allowing you to get back on track as soon as possible! (Note: It is recommended to use Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis on children, and not Lavandula stoechas).

Research has shown lavender's ability to ease anxiety and help with insomnia.

Did you know the word lavender comes from the Latin lavare meaning 'to wash'? As such, it is considered 'very effective' in fighting fungal infections, due to its anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties.

courtesy of Pixabay

Get your cook on!
Ready to start reaping lavender's flavour enhancing and health benefits in food? Here are some tips and tricks to get you started below!

What to buy
Be sure to buy culinary lavender if you are planning on cooking with it. You might not die from eating ornamental lavender, but we certainly don’t recommend it! Edible lavender can be purchased from well stocked supermarkets, health food stores, and herb/spice shops, and will be marked either 'culinary', 'edible' or 'safe for consumption'.

Lavender has a fairly strong flavour, so if you are new to cooking with it, or unsure of how you will like it, use sparingly. Remember, you can always add more, but you can't take it out! Depending on the dish, a teaspoon of dried leaves is likely to be a good start, then taste and season from there.

courtesy of Pixabay

You may wish to either grind or strain your lavender leaves before use if you would like to avoid the texture of the leaves. A coffee grinder or small food processor can be immensely helpful in this regard.

For a sweet and special morning meal, add lavender to a chocolate chia pudding, or over warm porridge. You will reap a lovely aromatic and refreshing start to your day!

Soups and stews
Try adding a teaspoon of lavender leaves to your next soup or stew in the early stages of cooking to allow the flavor to fully permeate. Lavender pairs delightfully with the root vegetables, so stock a pot full of potatoes, parsnip, swede, turnip and carrot, and you will be ready to go!

courtesy of Flickr

Juices and teas
Infusing a homemade juice or tea with lavender gives it that extra fresh, light and aromatic zest! You will only need a small pinch of the leaves to taste the result, so don't get too heavy handed!

courtesy of Flickr

Lavender seems to pair beautifully with almost any baked good. Try the delectable combination of lavender and lemon in a lavender & lemon cheesecake, or as a surprising dessert or cake accompaniment, blended with coconut ice cream!

courtesy of Flickr

As John Parkinson, a famed 17th century apothecary, observed "(lavender is) especially good for all griefs and pains of the head and brain." With all this evidence, we certainly can't disagree!

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#Herbal Medicine
#Therapeutic Foods
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Years ago, I used to buy delicately Lavender flavoured CHEESE frm Tasmania) in David Jones. It came somewhere between Devonport & Launceston. Just cannot recall the name.
At Afternoon Teas, I enjoyed great success serving the ladies Lavender Cheese sandwiches alongside the usual thinly sliced Cucumber sandwiches.
I have not seen Lavender Cheese for years = pity!
Thanks for sharing delbr! I've never tried Lavender Cheese myself, but can see it would pair nicely. Let us know if you find some!
I purchased Lavender cheese from Tasmania at IGA Berry this weekend.

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