This weekend, I have to do something with the lavender flowers in my herb garden. There is a lot of beautiful lavender growing out there. I love it for its beauty alone, but I do like to use as much of what my garden produces as I can, and I am afraid I will miss my window if I don’t get going now.
I plan to dry some of the buds, even though everyone seems to recommend you dry it before they bloom, and blooming is happening now. Chalk it up to this year’s lessons for the future; next year I will get an earlier start.
I have actually used lavender before a bit. A couple of years ago, I made lavender sugar to give as homemade Christmas gifts, even though it was almost embarrassingly easy–just pulsing some dried lavender flowers with sugar in the blender to mix through and putting the resulting mix in pretty jars. It was a fun and different gift though, and it made a nice addition to gift bag stuff. I think it would be really nice in a tea-themed basket thing, too (why yes, that is a technical term, basket thing, :) ).
I wanted lots of ideas for how to use my fresh, garden-grown lavender, though. A quick online search gave me many ideas, some I had seen before, some new. Marsha, who does my garden, was not at all surprised when I told her I had found some infused liquor ideas. She and her partner have been the appreciative recipients of my forays into mint liqueur many times. I saw suggestions on various forums for using lavender to infuse both bourbon and gin. I am a fan of both liquors, but the gin does sound like a better match for lavender. I will do a small batch of both, though, and see how they taste.
We will definitely be making a big batch of lavender simple syrup as well. Last year I made an easy dessert out of sliced strawberries, lavender syrup and lemon zest sugar, either alone or over ice cream that we definitely want to try again. We did lavender lemonade with fresh lemon juice as well, and I was surprised at how much the kids liked it.
On a non-food note, I am excited about making this soap, even though I don’t have loofahs from my garden:
So, my plan for the weekend is to start the liquor infusions and make the simple syrup with the fresh lavender, and then drying whatever is left for use throughout the year. That gives me a bit more time to find ideas, too. Anyone have any to share?