If you follow me on instagram you will likely know already that I was super excited when the lavender that lines our garden started to bloom. I know, you may be thinking that it's a little bit Grandma-ish to be excited about the fragrant, purple bloom, but I have sentimental nostalgia that is triggered when I smell these flowers on a hot day.
A couple of years ago I was on Hornby Island for a Summer trip with a friend's family. We spent one of the days driving a windy road to check out a Meadery (Mead is basically wine created with a honey and water base instead of using grapes). The Hornby Island meadery sits at the top of a property that is perched over beautiful lavender fields that create the most amazing aroma when they are warmed by the Summer sunshine. It's a really beautiful place from which my affinity for lavender grew.
I'm a big believer in culinary adventures that connect taste and smell. I get really excited over unexpected food combinations that put all my senses to good use. I have been seeing lavender used in cooking a lot lately and thought it would be fun to experiment with at home. In particular I was interested to try: lavender lattes, homemade lavender lemonade, lavender tea, lavender cocktails, lavender infused honey and lavender/earl grey tea scones drizzled with lemon icing.
I thought I'd try and kill a couple of birds with one stone by trying my hand at Lavender Simple Syrup. It was super simple and, to my surprise, worked out really well the first try! The most time consuming part of this recipe was to dry the lavender. It's been really hot and dry in Vancouver the last couple of weeks so it was pretty easy, but keep it in mind when you try it yourself. The bonus of a simple syrup is that it is easy to add to cold drink and requires little mixing to disperse it. Here's what I did:
- step 1: cut lavender from the bush, gather into bunches and tie with twine. Hang upside down in a dry place until the flowers are dried out. It took me about 2 days of hot weather. *I'm sure you could complete the recipe with live lavender as well, but the dry buds are more easy to remove from the plant and more potent smelling after they have been dried.
- step 2: use your hands to scrunch the dried lavender until the buds fall off into a pot. You need about 3 tbsp of dried lavender, but you can alter the amount based on how strong you want the syrup to be.
- step 3: add one cup of water to the dried lavender and bring to a boil. *Stir it to make sure all the lavender is soaked
- step 4: add two cups of sugar, stir until dissolved and let simmer for 5-10mins.
- step 5: pour sugar/water/lavender mixture through a strainer into a *heat resistant container* Very important! - I use mason jars as they're affordable, pretty and able to handle the heat. Be careful! Hot sugar mixtures can cause horrible burns.
- step 6: pop into fridge, it lasts about 1 week
Ways to Use it:
- Add a few tablespoons to a glass with ice and lemon slices for tasty lavender lemonade
- Use in place of sugar in a normal or iced latte.. delicious!
- Use in place of sugar in tea - earl grey would be my choice
- Add to steamed milk
- Add to soda water for lavender sodaDrizzle over vanilla ice cream, or if you're ambitious try adding it to the mix when making homemade ice cream!
- Add to cocktails - would be great in gin & tonic, with vodka soda etc.
- Package it up with twine and a couple of sprigs of lavender to take as a hostess gift
I'm sure there are a billion other ways to use this simple syrup. Give it a try and let me know what worked best for you!