Health Benefits of Cooking with Lavender

Jar with honey and fresh lavenderDid you know you can cook with lavender and it’s good for your body, too?! If you were this many days old when you realized lavender could be more than a fresh scent or pretty purple flower in the backyard, join the club. But before we dive into the health benefits of cooking with lavender, let’s look at what lavender is and where it comes from.

 

History of Lavender

Lavender is actually part of the mint family! Believed to be native to the Mediterranean, India, and the Middle East, lavender has been nicknamed “the herb of love” because of its strong floral scene and calming attributes. Throughout history and even into today, lavender was and is commonly used in baths to help purify the body and spirit. In fact, many hand soaps and body washes are scented with lavender because of its calming aroma. 

 

Lavender and its Health Benefits

Surprisingly, both the flowers and leaves on lavender can be eaten. Plus if you’re looking to add flavor without calories, lavender is a great go-to-herb. It only has a few calories per tablespoon and is free of fat and cholesterol. Lavender also has some unique health benefits. Research has shown lavender may help eliminate including insomnia, anxiety, depression, stress, and fatigue.

 

How to Cook with Lavender

Whether you’re working with fresh or dried lavender, both can be added to dishes for a unique flavor and breathtaking color. Try adding some fresh lavender to your next salad, a chicken dish, tea, lemonade, or cocktail! Lavender also pairs well with fruits and desserts and can be used in various rubs, marinades, and sauces. You can even add it to cookies!  

 

Where to Buy Lavender

You can often find lavender at your local farmer’s market, a health food store, or a specialty store near you. You can also grow it on your own if it’s in season. The best time to plant lavender is in the fall so it will bloom late spring and early summer. If you prune it slightly after its first flowering, a second flowering will happen in late summer, typically around the end of August. 

 

Pro tip: If you decide to purchase lavender, make sure you’re purchasing lavender for cooking, not lavender that is sold at craft shops. Always store dried lavender in an airtight container. Fresh lavender can last for several days in the fridge if you wrap it in a moist paper towel. 

 

Bottom Line on Lavender

Give lavender a try in your kitchen. At the very least, your house will smell amazing and you may find a favorite new dish!

 

 

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