The green-gray needle like leaves and spikes of fragrant purple-mauve flowers are known to almost everyone, but there are other varieties with green leaves and white, pink or dark purple flowers. Even if you don’t use it in cooking, it makes a nice addition to any herb garden.
Lavender is an incredibly versatile herb for cooking. In today’s upscale restaurants, fresh edible flowers are making a comeback as enhancements to both the flavor and appearance of food.
Flowers and leaves can be used fresh, and both buds and stems can be used dried. Lavender is a member of the mint family and is close to rosemary, sage, and thyme. It is best used with fennel, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, and savory.
English Lavender has the sweetest fragrance of all the lavenders and is the one most commonly used in cooking. Lavender has a sweet, floral flavor, with lemon and citrus notes. The potency of the lavender flowers increases with drying. In cooking, use 1/3 the quantity of dried flowers to fresh. Because of the strong flavor of lavender, a little goes a long way.