Lavender is most famous as a fragrant flowering plant, one that’s often grown as an ornamental and can be found in many gardens. The fragrance of the flowers makes them popular for all kinds of applications, including lavender essential oil and scent bags. However, as you learn how to use fresh lavender, you’ll see that it’s relevant for much more than just its aroma.
For example, lavender can be used in cooking and in cleaning products. Specific ways to use fresh lavender include making lavender tea, using it in flower arrangements, making lavender sachets for your pillows, and even adding it to savory meals.
There’s also lavender essential oil, which is a powerful way to access the scent of lavender and use it throughout your daily life. Essential oils are normally made through distillation, but you can get some of the same effects by using an oil infusion process instead.
As you step through these different uses for fresh lavender, think about the type of lavender that you’re going to use. There’s a surprising number of different varieties, which vary in their scent, the structure of their flowers, and the climate they grow well in. Most fall into one of four categories: English, French, Spanish, or Lavandins.
How To Use Fresh Lavender
For most of these situations, you’ll need to pay close attention to the amount of lavender you use. The flower and leaves have a surprisingly intense flavor, so it’s easy to use too much when you’re cooking. Try starting with just a small amount, as you can always add more if needed.
Lavender flowers can be displayed simply as a bouquet of flowers in water. This is an easy way to fill your house with the aroma of lavender and shows off the blooms nicely. The water helps your flowers to last longer as well.
If you don’t want just lavender, why not include lavender as part of a large floral bouquet? Lavender looks good with many other flowers and contributes to a complex and wonderful aroma. Even just a few stalks of lavender among other flowers is enough to make the arrangement much more exciting.
Did you know you can make herbal tea with countless types of leaves, flowers, or roots? Doing so allows you to enjoy the flavor of different ingredients, along with all the potential health benefits.
Making herbal tea with lavender is incredibly simple. You just need to add roughly four teaspoons of fresh lavender buds into a mug of freshly boiled water. Allow the mixture to steep for ten minutes, then you can strain out the lavender buds.
To make the process even easier, try adding the buds in a reusable sachet or a tea ball. This way you can simply remove the sachet or ball once the steeping is complete, rather than trying to strain out the herbs.
Lavender also pairs well with other herbal teas. A lavender and chamomile blend is especially good in the evening, helping you to wind down and relax.
If you’re a fan of cocktails, you’re probably already familiar with simple syrup. It’s the classic way to add sweetness to cocktails (and is much easier than trying to mix sugar into a cold cocktail).
But, simple syrup doesn’t need to be just sugar and water. You can make it using extra ingredients as well, including lavender. Doing so gives you a lavender-flavored sweet syrup that you can use in cocktails, cold drinks, and even desserts.
The simple syrup should last a few weeks, allowing you to experiment with it. You might even find some brand new recipes and flavor combinations.
Try Lavender Lemonade
The flavors of lavender and lemons naturally complement each other, so why not try your hand at lavender lemonade? This is mostly the same as regular lemonade, except that you also need a lavender base.
One way to do this is to first make lavender tea, then allow this to cool. The tea can then be used as the base for your drink. Otherwise, you could make lavender simple syrup and use that instead. Either way, you get a delicious summer drink that’s just a little different.
Culinary lavender is most often associated with sweet treats, particularly lavender shortbread. However, you can easily use lavender in savory dishes as well.
Lemon and lavender chicken, for example, works surprisingly well. While the lavender flavor is nuanced with this combination, it’s still noticeable and gives you a delicious meal.
And honestly, lavender pairs well in many recipes that you might not expect. You can even use it as an ingredient in bread. Why not experiment and discover new flavor combos for yourself?
Lavender infused honey follows a similar idea, where lavender adds a subtle floral flavor. The honey is a fantastic way to incorporate a little lavender flavor into your dish without going overboard.
Preparing the honey is simple. Just add honey and lavender to a pot and bring the combo to a gentle boil. It only takes around five minutes of boiling for the lavender flavor to infuse into the honey. Then you can take the honey off the boil and strain the lavender out.
Try drizzling the honey over yogurt, ice cream, or any other favorite dessert.
Lavender has long been associated with calmness and sleep, so much so that you can even buy lavender pillows these days. There are plenty of ways to add the scent yourself as well, like by using homemade lavender spray or a lavender sachet.
The easiest approach involves placing a couple of lavender sprigs in or under your pillow. This works well, but you’ll need to change out the lavender regularly, as you don’t want it to become damp.
Now we come to the desserts. Lavender works especially well with light flavored desserts, so that the taste of lavender doesn’t get drowned out. That said, chocolate lavender cake is a popular approach and there are many other recipes out there as well.
Sometimes you’d use fresh lavender buds themselves or perhaps lavender simple syrup. For rich recipes, infusing milk or cream with lavender can work a treat. This means you can easily get the lavender flavor without changing much about the recipe at all.
Make A Lavender Wreath
Lavender wreaths are beautiful and elegant. They’re also an excellent way to fill your home with the scent of lavender.
Making one yourself is surprisingly easy, especially if you use a wreath form as the base. Floral wire is helpful too. Try using this to tie together bunches of fresh lavender, then attach these to your wreath form.
You can make wreaths like this using fresh lavender or dried. Fresh lavender provides the best fragrance and the lavender should naturally dry if it’s in a well-ventilated area. Then, you end up with dried lavender that you can use in many ways.
Why buy expensive bath products when you can easily make your own? In fact, homemade bath products are often more natural, better, and much cheaper than anything you buy in the store.
One of the easiest approaches is to combine fresh lavender buds with epsom salt and store these in a jar. The mixture can be added to your bath whenever you want a treat. In the meantime, it will look lovely in the jar.
If you have plenty of fresh lavender, why not make fresh lavender oil?
To be clear, we’re not talking about essential oil here, as essential oil requires a large amount of lavender and distillation. Lavender oil is simply a carrier oil that has been infused with lavender.
Lavender oil is normally made using dried lavender, largely because there’s a risk of botulism when you use fresh flowers instead of dried ones. However, botulism is only relevant if you use the oil for culinary applications. Fresh lavender is completely fine if you’re using it in skincare and the like instead.
Besides, the scent of your oil may be stronger if made using fresh lavender instead of dried. The approach is also easier if you’ve been growing fresh lavender in your garden (why dry it if you don’t need to?).
A linen spray is one of many products you can make using fresh lavender. A simple approach is to make a strong batch of lavender tea, then allow it to cool and drain the flowers out.
After this, you can add a little lemon juice, perhaps a tablespoon or so, and place the liquid in a spray bottle. This liquid then becomes a useful way to freshen up your linens. You can also use it on clothes, on your bedding, or in many other situations.
Making bath products with fresh lavender isn’t your only option. You can actually add fresh lavender into your bath as well. For an even stronger scent, make the water hotter than you need and leave the lavender to steep for at least ten minutes. By the time the water has cooled, it should have a strong lavender aroma. This will give you a heavenly bath.
The biggest issue is that you’ll be left with small lavender buds to clean out of your bath. You can get around this by placing your water in a linen bag or something similar first. The lavender scent should still diffuse into the water, without the buds getting everywhere.
5 Delicious Recipes Using Fresh Lavender
What do you think about Lavender Lemon Ice Cream as a delicious sweet treat? It’s a much more interesting and delicate ice cream flavor than normal, which is entirely a good thing.
A crucial part of this recipe is making lavender infused cream. This cream is how you add the lavender flavor into your ice cream (which also means you can do the same with other ice cream recipes).
Another great thing is that this recipe doesn’t require an ice cream maker at all. This allows you to easily prepare it at home with minimal equipment.
Then there’s this Lavender Martini. It’s a riff on a classic fruit martini, made using vodka, lemon juice, and lavender simple syrup.
These three ingredients provide a floral drink with a familiar sweet-tart flavor balance. Not only does the recipe focus on the martini, but it also gives you details for making the lavender simple syrup. You could then use that syrup for many different drinks.
Looking for something savory? If so, it’s hard to go past this Lavender Rosemary Grilled Ribeye Steak. The inclusion of lavender and rosemary is a stunning way to boost the flavor profile of the steak, making it both unusual and exciting.
The recipe starts with a lavender mixture that combines lavender, rosemary, salt, pepper, and olive oil. This then becomes the seasoning for your steak. The simple style means you could easily use the flavoring on a different cut of steak or even another type of meat entirely.
I love how these Matcha Lavender Tarts take the basic idea of a tart, then create an entirely new flavor profile. The combination of matcha and lavender is rarely seen, yet works spectacularly. This is one of those treats that you’ll never forget.
The other cool thing is how easy the tarts are to make. You can prepare them in 30 minutes, which even makes them suitable for a weeknight dessert.
The dessert isn’t as sweet as you might expect. However, you can increase the amount of sweetener if you have a sweet tooth.
Finally, we have this Lavender Vanilla Angel Food Cake, which is another excellent dessert for showcasing lavender. The recipe includes lemon juice and vanilla for extra flavor, both of which nicely complement the lavender.
This is a traditional cake, which means it relies on sugar, flour, and egg whites. While those ingredients won’t be suitable for everyone, many people can still eat (and enjoy!) traditional cakes. Why not give this one a try?