The historic use and recognition of lavender is almost as old the history of man. As an herb, lavender has been in documented use for over 2,500 years. In ancient times lavender was used for mummification and perfume by the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and peoples of Arabia. Lavender is often mentioned in the Bible, not by the name lavender but rather by the name used at that time "spikenard". In the gospel of Luke the writer reports: "Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment."
Lavender, also known as Lavandula angustifolia, is one of the most widely used, versatile herbs known today. It is considered a member of the Labiatae family, which also includes mints and the plant originated in England, France, Tasmania, and Yugoslavia. Lavender flowers have long since been used for digestive and sleep benefits. English farmers would place lavender flowers in their hats to combat headache and sunstroke. Women would place sachets of lavender in their closets and wardrobes for fragrance, in addition to using it in potpourri. Did you know that hospitals used lavender as an antiseptic and disinfectant to sterilize surfaces and equipment?
Our Favorite Recipes
Grilled Pork Chops with Lavender Flowers
4 pork loin or rib chops, about 3/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Florida Herb House lavender
1/2 teaspoon Florida Herb House thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon Florida Herb House rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, lavender, thyme, rosemary, and olive oil; rub mixture onto the pork chops. Cover the chops with plastic wrap and let sit 1 to 2 hours at room temperature.
Preheat barbecue grill. Place pork chops onto hot grill. Cover barbecue with lid, open any vents, and grill 4 to 5 minutes; turn and grill an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 155°F on a meat thermometer. Remove from barbecue and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Lavender Tea Cookies
1 tablespoon dried Florida Herb House lavender flowers
1 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup Florida Herb House cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon Florida Herb House Pink Himalayan salt
In a mortar, grind lavender flowers with the pestle. In a medium bowl, cream together ground lavender flowers, butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon extract. Add flour and salt; mix until combined (dough should be soft but not sticky.) Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until dough is firm.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove dough from refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough approximately 1/4-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters and place onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.
Peppered Lavender Beef
1 (3- to 4-pound) beef tenderloin roast
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons Florida Herb House whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoons Florida Herb House whole white peppercorns
2 tablespoons Florida Herb House fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoon Florida Herb House dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried Florida Herb House lavender flowers
Bring roast to room temperature before cooking. Trim the tenderloin of fat and silverskin. Note: Silverskin is a silvery-white connective tissue. It doesn't dissolve when the tenderloin is cooked, so it needs to be trimmed away. If the silverskin is not trimmed off, it will cause the tenderloin to curl up into the shape of a quarter moon.
Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Lightly oil outside of roast.
In a small spice or coffee grinder, coarsely grind the black peppercorns, white peppercorns, fennel seeds, thyme, and lavender flowers; rub mixture all over the meat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight (preferably).
Preheat oven to 425°F. Unwrap roast and place onto a rack in a shallow baking pan, tucking the thin end under to make it as thick as the rest of the roast. Place roast onto a rack in a shallow baking pan, tucking the thin end under to make it as thick as the rest of the roast. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F and continue to roast until the internal temperature reaches desired temperature on a meat thermometer (see below).
Rare - 120°F
Medium Rare - 125°F
Medium - 130°F
Remove from oven and transfer onto a cutting board; let stand 15 minutes before carving (meat temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees after it is removed from the oven). Transfer onto a serving platter and serve immediately with any accumulated juices.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
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Lavender is aromatic perennial evergreen shrub. Its woody stems bear lavender or purple flowers from late spring to early autumn, although there are varieties with blossoms of white or pink.
Lavender is native to the Mediterranean, but now cultivated in cool-winter, dry-summer areas in Europe and the Western United States. Lavender was used as an after-bath perfume by the Romans, who gave the herb its name from the Latin lavare, to wash.
For best results, avoid heating the herb with boiling water.
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