Culinary Lavender is preparing to flower here in the Pacific Northwest and I want to equip you on how to harvest, dry, debud, use lavender in cooking and how to store your culinary buds for an amazing lavender season!
June Begins Lavender Season in the Pacific Northwest!
I’m getting giddy in anticipation of lavender season. I begin the countdown as our lavender is beginning to turn its shades of purples and blue. Today I want to to give you the information you would need to gather from your garden or a local u-pick lavender farm your very own culinary lavender. I’ll share with you a quick and simple, “how to guide” on how to harvest, how to dry bouquets, how to prepare it for food and even how to keep it fresh.
But first a little fun history- Lavandula Angustifolia, also known as English lavender, is the varietals you will use for your culinary adventures in the kitchen. This sweet floral herb has been used historically for medicinal purposes as well as beloved flavor in cooking. Lavender was made popular by Queen Elizabeth who valued lavender conserve on her morning toast, used as lavender tea medicinally for her migraines and minor ailments and was known to use lavender oil daily as her perfume of choice.
So now that you know a little bit of fun history you too can harvest your own culinary lavender to use as medicinal tea, or in various recipes and so much more….just as Queen Elizabeth did and so many others before her. So let’s get down to the basics so you will be prepared.
When to harvest
You will want to harvest for your culinary lavender when your lavender stalks have about 2 flowers open. The flowers opening signals to us that the plant is mature and can hold its stems straight. It also lets us know that the lavender oil has reached the flower buds for a quality lavender culinary bud. As we all know when you cook with lavender you are using the bud, not the bloomed flower.
How to dry it
After cutting your lavender place a rubber band around your stems. Hang upside down for 1-2 weeks or until has dried. We use the “snap test” to ensure the lavender is dry. To do this you will bend one of the stems of lavender, if it snaps you know it is red, if it is pliable it will need more time to dry.
How to prepare-fresh or dried
Lavender can be used fresh or dried. When using fresh the general rule of thumb is one tablespoon of fresh herbs to one teaspoon of dried herbs.
How to remove the lavender buds from the stems
To remove the buds from the stem you can roll the bouquet between your hands over a bowl. The buds will fall off into the bowl. We like to sift the buds to remove any dust particles, pick out and remove any dried leaves and then place into a spice jar or small clean glass jar.
How to adapt your own recipe
Lavender is a fabulous companion to desserts, but you can also substitute culinary lavender in place of rosemary in your favorite recipes.
How to keep it fresh
Lavender once dried is like the other herbs in your cupboard. You will keep them away from direct light and stored in an airtight container to retain color and flavor. It is recommended you use it within a years time. It will last much longer, but will lose some flavor as time goes by.
If you’ve read this far and think….love all of that but…ummm, don’t want to do all that! No worries we are stocked up on culinary lavender in our shop and you get that here! If you need more recipe ideas check out our blog/recipe section and if you use this information to harvest your own culinary lavender we love when people share with us at #norwoodlavenderfarm!
I am Nicole Callen, lavender lover, farmer, and owner of Norwood Lavender Farm. My intention for this page is to bring you great lavender related content that you can use. Most of it contains culinary adventures that transpire in my kitchen, as I have a love for the complex floral flavor and depth that lavender brings to cooking. I like to say, "where nature meets gourmet".