Along with the usual suspects like pepper, lettuce, basil, and parsley, this summer’s garden featured a new arrival: lavender. Inspired to grow the shrubby perennial after seeing a recipe for lavender-infused cod, I decided that it could be an interesting herb to cook with, bake with, and maybe even use in a homemade soap or perfume. But before I could do anything, I had to learn how to grow it. The plant is flourishing nicely now that the season is winding down, though it doesn’t look quite like the French field below.
First, I made sure to plant my lavender in a spot that received full sun throughout the day, not too close to any other herbs that might grow taller and block the light. Next, I tried to prune the plant lightly whenever I had a chance to go out into my garden; this would encourage it to continue to branch out and flower. I’ve used the fresh flowers to season potatoes and meats, and I’d love to make a lavender honey.
My final task will be to dry out any remaining lavender flowers in my dehydrator before the colder weather arrives. This way, I’ll be able to use them throughout the fall and the winter in soups, stews, and holiday treats! If you’ve come across any good recipes using this herb, I’d love some links.