Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Culinary Lavender Harvest

 I've shared with you before how much I love lavender - it's still a new plant for me & trying new varieties each year is an enjoyable experience.

I've come to accept that not all lavender will survive our wet winters. Actually, most won't. But I refuse to treat these as annuals because I know that with care & attention to planting, I can have them last for many years.

The past week I've been enjoying the bees swarming over the plants. I do like to share with the insects & birds, but since I wanted to harvest this particular lavender for culinary purposes, I wanted to harvest them at their peak of fragrance & flavour. That meant taking them off the bush before the blooms fully opened.

Yesterday was the perfect day for that. Not too humid & still dry from our lack of rain these last few weeks.

I left a few blooms on each plant just for the bees & I'm pretty sure that there will be more blooms over the course of the summer.

So right now I have my nice big handful of lavender laid out on some cookie sheets drying. I don't hang them upside down - I haven't yet made up a hanging rack for that & I also find it easier to remember to check them if I see them lying in one of my book shelves....

Once they are dry, I'll carefully remove the blooms from the stalks & keep them in an air tight jar for use through the rest of the year. I have a herb grinder that I use to blend them up - either with other herbs for a herbal salt or one their own for addition to cooking or baking.

Can't wait to add some to a new gluten-free scone recipe I'm working with!! Lemon & lavender are great flavour combinations!

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