Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lovely Lavender!

My lavender has been in full bloom for the last month and what a treat to walk by and enjoy the wonderful fragrance!

History:  For centuries, lavender has been used to perfume linen and bedding.  It not only smells good but its essential oil is an antibiotic that destroys the bacteria that causes tuberculosis and typhoid fever.  It was used to prevent infectious diseases from spreading before the days of antibacterial soap!

Growing:  Lots of sun, good drainage, little water, little or no fertilizer, shear back 1/3 to 1/2 every year immediately after bloom.

Uses:  Native to the Mediterranean region, the fragrant flowers are used for perfume, soap, medicine and sachets.  

Cooking:  Did you know the flowers from English lavender and lavindin varieties can be used in recipes?  (use only these varieties, other species should not be ingested).  Here's a lemon bread recipe with a lavender flavored glaze that I love!

Lavender Lemon Bread
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 2/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
Grated peel of 1 lemon
2 tblsp finely chopped English lavender flowers
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup sugar
1 tblsp finely chopped English lavender flowers
Cream together sugar and butter.  Beat in eggs.  Add dry ingredients alternately with milk.  Mix well.  Add lemon peel and lavender.  Pour into well greased and floured 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan.  Bake at 350 for 55 - 60 minutes.  Mix topping ingredients and spoon over bread after it is baked but still hot.  Let cool in pan for 1 hour.

Happy Gardening and Eating!

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