Day 144 – Lavender

Check out day 72 for Cilantro which alphabetically comes after Chives.

The color of amethyst.  The color of royalty.  The color of the seventh chakra, your connection to the divine.

According to lore, a ”lavender” was a washerwoman many centuries ago in England. This stems from the Latin word meaning “to wash.”  The fresh, clean and menthol fragrance of lavender gives it its name and not its color.  But the color lavender probably received its name from the herb even though the flowers lean more towards a deep purple.

In ancient Greece, Rome and Arabia, herbalists touted lavender as a disinfectant, antiseptic and able to prevent and cure skin infections.  Science today acknowledges and verifies these claims.  The essential oil is recommended for cuts, scratches, insect bites, burns and blemishes.  Aromatherapy endorses its use as calming, uplifting and soothing.

Romantic lavender with its silver leaves blooms easily here.

To use the flowers, snip them off when open and fluffy.

Chop them up finely with rosemary.

Make your own herbes de Provence.  Just blend chopped up and dried savory, thyme, lavender and you may want to add rosemary, fennel or basil.  This mixture is delicious in homemade bread.   Add garlic, shallots and olive oil to rub all over lamb, chicken or fish.  It will enhance your cooking repertoire.

Make lavender sugar by just placing it in a jar together.

When we moved to our house and/or when I am packing up some clothes, I throw in lavender flowers to help keep moths and bugs away as well as scent the stored box or bag.

I am a strong believer in rubbing lavender on your temple to help with restlessness or a slight headache.

Place some in cheesecloth or a sachet and keep in your drawers.

Lavender lemonade, lavender lemon cookies and lavender ice cream are a few ways to try lavender in the kitchen.

I heart lavender for its beauty, its attraction to hummingbirds and bees, its aroma and best of all, how easy it is to grow here.  Don’t overwater it.  Even though it is a perennial, after three to five years, the flowers may lose their strong virtues so I am constantly rotating in new varieties.

Sweet Lavender Ice Cream

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons dried English lavender buds

1-cup sugar

2 egg yolks, slightly beaten

2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger

1 teaspoon minced fresh orange zest

2 cups heavy cream, chilled

Heat the milk slowly, just below boiling to a simmer.  Remove from heat and add the lavender.  Cover the pot and let it steep for about 20 minutes.  Strain the milk with cheesecloth and discard the flowers.

Stir in sugar till dissolved.  Pour some milk into the yolks and stir gently, then pour both eggs back into the milk.  Add ginger and zest and reheat the pot over low heat again just to a simmer, stirring often.  The mixture will thicken and coat the back of a spoon when ready.

Remove from heat; add chilled cream.  Mix well and refrigerate.  When cold, process in an ice cream maker.                   Makes 1 quart.

Lavender 2012

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