This syrup may be the most popular herbal syrup by far. Most of us are obsessed by the beauty and the fragrance of this Mediterranean herb. Its popularity has exploded in the United States in the last couple of decades. We can now find many varieties of English lavender, Spanish lavender, and even yellow lavender. Back in the 1970s when my mom had an herb business and grew about 1/4 acre of herbs, she had a difficult time finding even one English lavender plant and now it is commonly available at Lowes and Home Depot. It is “a thing” indeed.
You can make syrup out of any of the lavender varieties and I encourage you to experiment and find your favorites. However, most people will be most satisfied experimenting with various subspecies of the English lavenders — Lavandula angustifolia. This is the lavender used most for culinary purposes. However, there is even great variety among this grouping of lavenders. Some have more distinct flavors (Munstead) and one is used mainly for oil (Grosso). If you are planting lavender with the purpose of enjoying the flavor, be sure to taste around before committing to a specific variety or sub-variety. Here are some culinary lavenders: Munstead, Vera, Hidcote, and Sachet. You may find these at a local independent nursery or follow those links to an online nursery Mountain Valley Growers, located near us actually, with a great selection of plants by mail order.
As you experiment with lavender syrup, a key question may pop into your mind: Why is my lavender syrup not lavender?
Your lavender syrup will likely have a light brown color, like an herbal tea. I have seen some syrups that were actually lavender in color and most of those had a natural color added. I have seen claims that lavender syrup will be lavender in color if you use fresh lavender but that has not been the case with any varieties I have tried. There very well may be a lavender out there that would make lavender-colored syrup. You might even like the flavor. Keep tasting and experimenting to find out.
Lavender syrup is a great way to add a depth of lavender flavor to your kitchen creations. To get a depth of flavor in your end product, your syrup needs to be strong in lavender flavor (which is why you really want to stuff as much lavender in the water as you can and let it steep for some hours if you have the time). With a strong syrup, the possibilities are endless:
Play with the proportions but these are the basic proportions I use here. You want to get as much herb into the water as possible to make a syrup with an intense flavor.
Making the syrup is simple. You can use this method for making herbal syrups of all sorts. You can use fresh or dried lavender.
Store the syrup in your refrigerator. It will keep for a month. It is a fun and handy ingredient to have around to add a pop of lavender to any recipe in which you might add water. Here are some ideas:
If you’re in a pinch and are looking to buy lavender syrup, we’ve got you covered, check it out right here at our Amazon partner (here). This is a high-quality lavender syrup. However, the best quality is the syrup you’re going to make in your kitchen after you hand-pick the lavender yourself on some mountain hillside, right? Go forth and harvest! 😉
A: You can definitely use honey as the sweetener in this syrup. If I were making a very strong honey lavender syrup, I would let the infusion mixture sit overnight before adding the honey. For instance, pour the boiling water over the lavender buds, cover it and let it steep overnight. The next day I would strain off the liquid, reheat it, and then add honey until it is dissolved. With sugar, you can add it to the steeping stage and let it sit and it is not going to spoil but honey may start to ferment. Basically, rearrange some of the tasks adding the honey at the end.
A: Take a whiff of lavender. Inhale deeply. That fragrance will come through in your syrup and the taste will be very similar.
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