OK, so the title of the post is slightly misleading as I haven’t actually made any lavender from scratch. I am lucky enough to be living in a house which basically has an established lavender farm out the front, and I have started making things from scratch, from the beautifully established lavender. If you want to make/grow lavender from scratch, just type in “growing lavender” into Google and there are plenty of articles to assist
It has taken me over 2 years of living with this lavender farm for me to start using it, and as it turns out, there are stacks of things you can do with lavender. This week I got to drying it, making oil with it and baking with it (until fairly recently I didn’t even know you can eat lavender, but since I found out that lavender is actually considered an herb, that makes perfect sense ).
Herbs are really very cool. Not only do they smell and taste great (well generally anyway, please note that in any conversation in which I am talking about how lovely herbs are, I am always excluding dill and coriander – blrgh), but they have medicinal properties and lavender is no exception. Lavender has historically been used for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and analgesic properties, and more recent research suggests that lavender can help with things like anxiety, depression and insomnia, as well as digestive problems like vomiting, nausea, intestinal gas etc. You can read more about that in an article from medical news today .
One of the easiest ways to get the benefits of lavender is with lavender oil, and you can make your own from fresh lavender. It is much cheaper than buying lavender essential oil, and you know that if I am telling you to do it, it is super easy. You just need the fresh lavender and a “carrier oil“. I first tried using light olive oil as a number of websites suggested that it would work, but unfortunately it just smells like lavender cooked in olive oil, which does not come close to resembling lavender essential oil, so I went with grape seed oil, and it has worked a treat. But you could uses jojoba or almond oil, or any other oil that doesn’t actually smell like oil.
All you do is grab a jar and fill it with fresh lavender, then cover it with your carrier oil and put the lid on. Then bring some water to boil in a saucepan, and once boiling, take it off the heat and put the jar in the saucepan. Once it has cooled place the jar in a sunny place for a few days for the lavender to infuse the oil. After a few days check the scent, if it isn’t strong enough, repeat the process until you get the desired level of lavender scent happening in the oil.
Here is mine
And here is a list from Netherfield, who are New Zealand producers of lavender, of 20 uses for your lavender oil once you have made yours
When it comes to eating lavender, as with any other herb, you can eat it fresh or you can eat it dried. I decided to dry mine as it goes further/lasts longer. Luckily for me, a few weeks back I had yet another lucky score at the green shed and found a dehydrating machine. I had been on the look out for one for a while, and this 5 tiered beauty, set me back $5.
Here she is…
In my machine the lavender dries in about 2 hours, and whilst it is drying there is the added benefit that the whole house fills up with the lovely smell of lavender.
You can use lavender in all kinds of dishes, I was reading that you can use it in place of rosemary in most dishes, but with my sweet tooth situation, I wanted to make a lavender cake. And I am sure glad I did, as it was delicious. The first cake was eaten in about 3 minutes, I didn’t even get a photo of it. So I decided, for the sake of the blog, that I better make another one the next day so that I could get a photo, however that cake also went in about 3 minutes, before any photos could be taken. I decided that it was very likely that any of these cakes may never make it to a photo. (To be clear, it is not that I ate both cakes by myself in under 3 minutes, although doing so wouldn’t require too much effort, I had help). So instead, here is a picture of a lavender coloured cake I found on the internet. This is a purple yam cake, and at first I thought it was cool to find a purple cake made from a purple vegetable, but then I read the recipe and this radioactive purple colour includes purple and blue food colouring. Apparently they are quite popular in Singapore, but are yet to take off here in Australia.
Now I will give you the recipe of the not-lavender-coloured-just-lavender-flavoured- cake recipe so you can make your own, and if you do manage to take a photo before you eat it all, please post it online so other readers can see what it looks like
Lavender syrup cake recipe
Recipe adapted from notgotmuchin.com
For the cake:
200g apple, peeled and diced.
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 tbsp dried lavender flowers
120g wholemeal flour
2 tsp aluminium free baking powder
1 pinch unrefined salt
For the syrup:
3 tbsp coconut sugar
2 tbsp Water
Juice of 1 med Lemon
What to do:
Preheat the oven to about 180 degrees celsius and line a cake tin with baking paper. Cook the apple in a saucepan of water until soft, drain the water and then blend it up. In a seperate bowl combine the honey and eggs, you will need to give this a really good mix as the honey takes a while to mix in with the egg. Once combined, add the rest of the ingredients, including the apple, and pour into your prepared baking tin. Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes.
As with other cakes, cake is cooked when you stick something (as in a utensil, probably best not to stick your finger in it, it will burn and hurt you badly) in it , and it comes out clean.
While the cake is cooking in the oven you can make your syrup by dissolving the sugar in the water over a low heat. Once sugar is disolved, remove from heat and add the lemon juice. When the cake is cooked, take it out of the oven but leave it in the tin, and whilst it is still hot make some holes all over the top with something, again probably dont use your finger, and then pour the syrup all over the cake.
Let it cool, eat it. Delicious