Today I was up early, 6 AM, cutting several varieties of Angustifolia, “English” Lavender, with one of my awesome workers. We bundled the lavender with rubber bands, then hung it to dry. It should take about a week, or so, in our 90′ temps. Then we will rub the buds off, and clean the lavender, with gloves on, and package it for Culinary use. A few of our favorite varieties are Melissa, a white lavender, Munstead, Middachton, and Provence. This is our busiest time of the year. After all this work, I need something to help me cool down. I think I’ll make some Lavender Ice Cream or go downtown for Lavender Gelato at Doppio 🙂 🙂
“What makes culinary lavender different from any other lavender?“ Good question!! First of all, culinary lavender is either an Angustifolia, “English” variety, or a Lavandin variety, “Provence”. Secondly, all culinary lavender is harvested at peek season, “full bloom”, hung to dried, then cleaned and packaged with gloves on. Our Angustifolia, (English” variety) is called, “Signature Blend”. It is a blend of our finest English Lavender. A white lavender, called “Melissa” is in the blend, along with several other dark purple varieties. The “Signature Blend” of English Lavender adds a delicate floral note when added to teas and other dishes. I like to use “Signature Blend” in our Lavender Shortbread, because it lends a wonderful delicate floral note in combination with mint.
“Provence”, on the other hand, brings a more bold, savory floral note to dishes and teas. I like to say it’s a more “Herbie” flavor. 🙂 We use Provence in our HRL Spice Blend, and also in our “Sel Gris”, Hand-harvested French Gourmet Grey Sea Salt, because it lends a more savory note of flavor into recipes. We also use Provence in our Lavender Truffles, to obtain a more bold lavender flavor, blended with the decedent chocolate. It makes the lavender flavor “pop” out on your palate!
I suggest that my customers brew a separate tea with each, Angustifolia “English”, and “Provence” culinary lavender. In this way you taste the difference in the unique, soothing, floral flavors. Have fun experimenting with different recipes with culinary lavender, hope you acquire a love for the taste, as we have for this lovely flower. And next, you might even want to grow a Culinary Lavender in your herb garden 🙂