The lavenders (Lavandula) are a genus of 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. The botanical name for Lavender flowers is Lavandula angustifolia. Lavender lends a floral and slightly sweet flavor to most dishes. For most cooking applications the dried buds are used. Only the buds contain the essential oil of lavender, from which the scent and flavour of lavender are best derived. In the U.S., both lavender syrup and dried lavender buds are used to make lavender scones and marshmallows.
Lavender can also be substituted for rosemary in many bread recipes. The flowers can be put in sugar and sealed tightly for a couple of weeks then the sugar can be substituted for ordinary sugar for a cake, buns or custards. Grind the lavender in a herb or coffee grinder or mash it with mortar and pestle. Lavender lends itself to savory dishes also, from hearty stews to wine-reduced sauces. A little lavender goes a long way, so use sparingly until the desired taste is achieved.
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