I remember the sixties, my record player spinning “Groovin on a Sunday Afternoon”, drawing paisleys and writing balloon shaped names on my school Pee-Chee. I made big puffy paper flowers that hung on my wall right next to my “I do my thing, you do your thing” poster. Oh yeah, even back then I knew that flower power ruled.
The cool thing about flowers is that you can eat many of them, like nasturtiums, pansies and zucchini blossoms, and lavender, oh lavender, its beautiful color and fragrance can send you over the moon. No wonder its known as a flower of love.
Grown all across the “Old World” in the countries of Africa, Asia and Europe this blossom has a long rich history. Lavender is a beautiful plant to feast your eyes on, its blossom displaying such a gorgeous shade of pale purple. Although beautifully decorative, it is also an exciting culinary herb, “Lavendula” is related to the mint family and over the millennia this flower has made its name. It was written about in the Song of Solomon, it’s Queen Elizabeth’s favorite jelly, and it’s the special ingredient in Frances’ most famous herbal blend, “Herbs de Provence”.
Today we look for ways to incorporate this legend into our lives. Its fragrance is a calming agent when you feel anxious, a sleep enhancer for insomnia and when placing its oil at your temples, is a known headache reliever.
But what if you decide to eat lavender? Well, I have good news… there’s even more “flower power” baby. This tiny little bud ardently delivers over 100 beneficial compounds, including anti-inflammatories, phytochemicals and lots of anti-oxidants. Lavender has a detoxifying quality and contains agents that help with cancer inhibition and even hypertension. And as a bonus it basically has no calories, carbohydrates or fats.
The good news is, it’s delicious. Lavender has a light citrus flavor and is especially good added to beverages, salads, soups, fish and lamb. On the sweet side, it is lovely in honey, syrup and desserts, and it makes a relieving tea from either its flowers or leaves. It is especially nice paired with lamb, pork and salmon. In fact, this month our chef’s at Salty’s are bringing back your favorite summer dish by popular demand, honey lavender glazed salmon salad with chevre cheese and fresh berries. It is my personal favorite warm weather delight. To get even more lavender in your life I recommend you take a look at the flowerful ideas Chef Jeremy has to share, even though he remembers absolutely nothing about the 60’s.