Lavender recipes

Lavender’s distinctively fresh, clean and slightly perfumed scent and flavour is versatile in the kitchen and the bar. Use dried lavender with salt, pepper, dried thyme and lemon zest as a rub for chicken or fish. It’s also lovely in creamy desserts such as pannacotta, or crème brûlée, or in a crème anglaise.

Recipes by Mary Bailey unless otherwise noted.

Pork tenderloin with lavender and herbs

Alberta pork tenderloin is a versatile and lean cut with no waste. Or use shoulder or loin chops, if you prefer.

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • ¼ c cup honey
  • 2 T marjoram, chopped fine
  • 2-3 sprigs rosemary, chopped fine
  • 2 T lavender flowers
  • fresh lemon juice and zest of ½ small lemon
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven or barbecue to 350ºF. Mix honey, herbs, lavender flowers, lemon juice and zest and seasoning together and rub over the pork. Put pork on a roasting pan, place in the oven, or grill. Cook for about 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the pork. If the meat gets too dark too quickly, cover loosely with foil. Let rest for about 10 minutes.

Slice and serve with steamed new potatoes and fresh garden peas.

Serves 4-6.

Lavender lemonade

This fragrant and pretty drink is best served the day it is made. To make May Punch add 1 cup Hendrick’s gin and 1 cup sparkling wine. Serve in a flute with a lavender flower or a strawberry in every glass.

  • 1 c sugar
  • 5 c water
  • 1 T dried lavender
  • 2 T lavender flowers for garnish
  • 1 c fresh lemon juice (approx juice of one large lemon)
  • 1 T lemon zest

Combine sugar and 2 cups water in a saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Add dried lavender and remove from heat. Let stand covered for 2 hours or overnight. Strain and discard lavender bits. Pour the lavender syrup into a pitcher. Add lemon juice and zest and remaining 3 cups water. Stir to combine. Serve over ice, garnished with fresh lavender flowers.

Anna Olson’s lavender sugar

“Scented sugars are a great way to gently flavour your baking or your coffee and teas. Wrapped in little bags tied with a festive ribbon, they make a joyful gift for a hostess, or a take-away treat for your own holiday party! Lavender sugar sparkles up fresh berries with just a little sprinkle. Try it in light, lemony desserts or to sweeten your iced tea.”
— Anna Olson

  • 12 sprigs dried lavender stem (with or without flowers)
  • 4 c sugar

Place dried lavender with sugar in a re-sealable bag or airtight container and store for at least 2 weeks.

Sugared lavender flowers

We found this method in the The Lavender Garden by Robert Kourik.You can also use it to make sugared borage flowers, which are readily available in Alberta gardens.

“One of the easiest transformations for lavender occurs when you crystallize its flowers to be used as cake and pastry decorations or nibbled like candy. Because of the fragrant oils contained in lavender flowers, each separate candied calyx with its corolla becomes, in effect, a tiny lavender-flavoured breath freshener.”
— Robert Kourik

  • 24 fresh lavender flower heads
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ c confectioner’s sugar or superfine sugar

Pick the flowering heads when they are about 50 per cent open, leaving stems 4 to 6 inches long. Let any surface moisture evaporate from the heads, if they aren’t already dry.

Lightly whisk the egg white in a small bowl. Using a small watercolor brush, apply a thin coating of egg white to all surfaces of each flower head, making sure to rub it between and around the individual calyxes.

Push a drinking straw into the confectioner’s or superfine sugar and use it to blow the sugar over each egg-white-coated flower head as you rotate the stem between your index finger and thumb. Alternately, gently tap a spoonful of sugar above the flower head to achieve the same effect. Repeat once or twice to coat all flower surfaces evenly, but don’t apply so much sugar that the color of the blossoms begins to fade.

Set each flower stem upright in a piece of plastic foam to allow the egg whites to dry thoroughly. This sugaring process will preserve the blossoms for years. Store the crystallized flower heads in a lidded jar. Makes 2 dozen.

Lavender shortbread

  • 2 sticks plus 6 T (11/3 cups) Lactantia unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 c berry sugar (or, spin regular sugar in a food processor to make it finer)
  • ¾ t salt
  • ¾ t pure vanilla extract
  • 2 T dried lavender buds
  • ¼ t fine lemon zest (approx ¼ of a small lemon)
  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c rice flour
  • 35 sugared lavender flowers (optional)

Preheat oven to 275ºF.

In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add salt, vanilla, lavender buds and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Add flour, slowly, 1 cup at a time, beating on low speed until just combined. Do not overwork.

Roll dough into a ball and let rest for at least 20 minutes. Form into a cylinder and cut cookie discs. Place on a parchment covered baking sheet. Or, butter a 9x13x1″ baking pan, and line bottom with parchment paper. Press dough into prepared pan, leveling and smoothing the top. Using a dough scraper or the back of a knife, cut dough lengthwise into nine strips, each slightly less than 1 inch wide. Cut the strips crosswise to make thirty-six 3-inch bars. Create a decorative pattern on the surface, if desired.

Bake shortbread until evenly pale golden, but not browned, 70 to 85 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. Invert pan, and remove parchment. Turn shortbread over, and carefully break, or cut with a serrated knife, into bars. While still warm, press a sugared lavender flower into the top of each cookie or bar. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Variation: Use fresh rosemary instead of lavender, omit zest.