Michigan is awash with Lavender at this time of year and it’s not just Granny’s favorite flower…..it is a plant with personality. The beauty of a field of lavender draws people to it. The gorgeous plants bring joy to all who see it, but seems to demand that one stops to gaze, or stroll through the rows of fragrance. Lavender was first found growing in the areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea as far back as man has recorded. It is a hardy, perennial shrub and is known as the queen of the herbs. So much has been forgotten about the usefulness of the plant, but today lavender is staging a strong comeback in the bathroom, kitchen, medicine cabinet and in our cosmetics. With over 300 varieties growing all over the world, there are many applications for this aromatic plant that brings calm and balance into our lives.
Lavender’s bright purple flowers grace our garden and bring us healing. The plant is naturally antibiotic, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory. It heals wounds, burns, bug bites and rashes. It wards off colds and flu and relieves headaches and joint and muscle pain. A bottle of lavender oil is a must in the travel bag.
A few plants outside the kitchen door or the back veranda are enough to supply most households with lavender supplies for the season. It is not complicated. Use the lavender fresh or dry, remembering that the lavender is 3 times stronger when dried.
AIR PURIFICATION. Save some dried lavender buds and stems, steep in a pot of boiling water to purify the air during cold and flu season.
COLDS AND FLU. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Turn off and add 3-5 drops of pure lavender oil and 3-5 drops of eucalyptus oil. Place a towel over head and pot and inhale medicinal steam. It will prevent a cold from taking hold, or shorten the duration of a cold.
PAIN RELIEF. Rub pure lavender oil on a bruise for quick relief from pain and swelling. Rub a carrier oil such as olive or almond oil on sore or arthritic joints, and then add a few drops of lavender oil. Gently massage the oils into the skin for pain relief.
BURNS. Immediately pour undiluted lavender oil onto a burn for relief of pain, prevention of blistering and scaring. Used by many chefs for water and grease burns.
Here are a few delicious Lavender Receipes for you to try…
BAKED BRIE WITH LAVENDER JELLY……….A popular appetizer or light meal
1 sheet of puff pastry
1 wheel of Brie
½ C. roasted pecans, coarsely chopped
½ C. Lavender Jelly*
Toast nuts and place on the center of the pastry. Pour the jelly on top of the nuts. Place the wheel of Brie on top of nuts/jelly and wrap the pastry up over the brie. Carefully seal the seams as you fold the pastry over the brie. Turn the pastry with seams down and place on a baking pan with sides. You may decorate the pastry with leftover bits of dough if you wish. Bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes or until the pastry is nicely golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit before slicing.
May serve on crackers or bread rounds, or with a salad for a light lunch or dinner.
*If you can’t find lavender jelly, use cranberry sauce to which 2 Tbs. of lavender buds have been mixed in and allowed to rest.
Simply made by substituting lavender tea for ½ of the plain water in any lemonade recipe. For large groups, use Minute Maid frozen concentrate. If using fresh squeezed lemons and sugar, do the same. Place about 15 lavender dried stems and flowers in a 2 quart pot of boiling water. Turn off the heat and allow the lavender to steep for 25-30 minutes. This is a tisane, or tea. Use it in your recipe for lemonade or as half the water in the Minute Made Mix.
Make your recipe for rice, or wild rice pilaf, or for couscous………..or any grain salad. Add ½ to 2 tsp. of dried culinary lavender buds when the cooking is finished. TO TASTE. Be careful not to overdue the lavender. I is in the same family as mint and rosemary, but is the strongest of the herbs. Use it to replace mint for a tasty change in meat rubs. It is especially good with pork and chicken.
Come visit our Petoskey RV Resort in Michigan and experience the surrounding areas summer time lavender fields.
Credits: Article written by Linda Longworth.
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