Friday, 28 August 2009

Hurray For Lavender

Lavender sugar has been one of my favourite new ingredients this summer. I had never cooked with it before, and now I love experimenting with it. Lavender has such a delicate flavour. It's sweet without being sickly. It makes desserts taste light and refreshing rather than heavy. It tastes like warm summer days lying on your back looking for shapes in the clouds and hearing bumblebees drift from flower to flower.

So, before the summer is completely over and all of the lavender flowers are finished for the year, I needed to include a post about lavender sugar. You can buy it at high-end supermarkets (like Waitrose) or specialty shops. Or you could get a lavender plant and make your own.

When it's in bloom, snip off the blossoms and dry. I used a dehydrator, but you can also do it in the oven, or even in the sun if the weather cooperates. It helps if you dry them still on the stems as the flowers are quite small. Once they are completely dried out, put the flowers (not stalks) in an airtight glass jar, and then add sugar. You can use regular white sugar, but I prefer using the finer caster sugar. The flowers are completely edible, and will flavour the sugar. You need about a teaspoon of dried flowers per cup of sugar, but that's only a guideline.

As long as the jar is kept free of moisture, it will last for a very long time.

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