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Lavender's Blue Dilly-dilly

lavender
Listen to Susan's Lavender Podcast
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Lavender's blue, dilly-dilly,
Lavender's green.
When I am queen, dilly-dilly,
you shall be king.

Everybody's favorite herb is a winner in your garden. Whether you live north or south, east or west, you can grow and enjoy lavender. Growing tips, ideas for cooking with lavender, and lavender crafts.

Lavender Cookery & Crafts / Victorian Secrets

A Collection of Lavender Cookery & Crafts from Lavender Lies, China's eighth adventure

Lavender Lemonade
Combine a cup of sugar and two and a half cups of water in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, and add a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours. Strain it into a pitcher, add one cup of freshly-squeezed lemon juice, and two and a half cups water. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then pour over ice cubes and sweeten with lavender honey.

Lavender Madeleines
This delicate recipe comes from a fine book of original recipes called Seasonal Herbal Favorites from Martha's Herbary, Vol. 1, by herbalist instructor Martha Paul, and is used here with permission.

¾ cup granulated sugar
3 tblsp dried or 5 tblsp fresh lavender flowers
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsifted all purpose flour
Confectioners' sugar
madeleine cookie mold

In food processor, process granulated sugar and flowers until flowers are finely ground. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl beat eggs with lavender sugar mixture and vanilla until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Gradually beat in 3/4 cup melted butter. With wire whisk, fold in flour. Spoon a scant one tablespoon batter into each madeleine mold. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan. Cool on wire rack. Store in airtight container. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving. (Martha suggests spraying the madeleine mold with cooking spray before filling. She says you might also try substituting rose water for the vanilla--a wonderful rose fragrance!)

Ruby's Lavender & Mint Tea Party Punch
For China's wedding, Ruby made this sparkling punch, using two favorite herbs. This recipe serves six; you can double or triple it to serve your guests. Double the herb quantities if you are using fresh herbs.

2 tblsp dried mint
2 tblsp dried lavender blossoms
6 cups boiling water
1 liter ginger ale
1 cup purple grape juice

In a teapot brew the mint in the hot water for 10 minutes. Add lavender, stir, and let cool. Strain, and add the grape juice. Chill. Just before serving, pour in ginger ale. Add ice cubes that have been frozen with a sprig of lavender or a mint leaf, or cool with a pretty ice ring. (Fill a ring mold half full of water, layer with roses and other edible flowers, then finish filling and freeze.)

Traditional Lavender Baskets
These little baskets are often placed in drawers and on linen shelves, where the fragrance of lavender is especially welcome.

Here's what you need:

9, 11, or 13 fresh, long lavender stems
1 yard 1/8" satin ribbon per wand

Strip the leaves from the stems (don't disturb the flowers). Bundle the stems together, lining up the lowest blossoms, and tie a string tightly around the stems just below the blossoms. Bend the stems over the blossoms to form a cage around them, and secure with a rubber band. Starting at the top of the cage, weave the ribbon in and out of the stems in a descending spiral, forming a woven basket around the flowers. Tie tightly at the bottom of the basket. Trim stems neatly and add a bow.

Lavender Bath Tea
Mix two teaspoons each of these dried herbs: rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and sage. Add four teaspoons of lavender. Mix and store. For each bath, brew a strong tea of two teaspoons of this mixture to one cup of boiling water. Steep 10 minutes and add to your bath.

Soothing Lavender Bath Oil
Mix 1 tablespoon lavender essential oil with 4 tablespoons almond oil and 1 tablespoon vodka. Add a few drops of rose or jasmine oil and mix. Store in a glass or plastic bottle. Add a few drops to your tub for a scented soak. To make your own massage oil, omit the vodka.

Lavender Bubble Bath
To make a mild bubble bath, grate one bar of castille soap into a quart of warm water. Mix well. To this liquid soap solution, add 3 ounces of glycerin or coconut oil (either will make bubbles) and 2-4 drops lavender essential oil. Store in a glass or plastic container.

Kate Ardleigh's Victorian Secrets

Kate Ardleigh is the heroine of the Robin Paige Victorian mysteries (written by Susan and Bill Albert under the pseudonym of Robin Paige.) Lavender sachet is a necessity in every drawer in her home, and Lavender Lip Balm is always on her dressing table. Here are Kate's recipes for these truly Victorian pleasures.

Lavender and Rosemary Sachet
For a sweetly-scented sachet, mix these ingredients, place in a lace sachet bag, and tie with a pretty ribbon.

2 tblsp lavender flowers
2 tblsp rosemary
10 whole cloves
¼ tsp powdered dry orange peel

Lavender Lip Balm
This lip balm was much loved by Kate and other Victorian ladies.

½ cup cosmetic oil (apricot kernal, sweet almond, or grapeseed oil)
¼ cup fresh lavender flowers
lavender essential oil
1-2 tsp pure beeswax, grated

In a clean lidded jar, steep the lavender flowers in the oil for a week. Strain into a small saucepan, add 5-6 drops of essential oil, and place over low heat. When warm, begin adding the beeswax. When you've melted in the first teaspoon of wax, removed from the heat and test for hardness by placing a little on a saucer and putting in the refrigerator. After a couple of minutes, check to see if the gloss has congealed. If it isn't hard enough, add a little more wax and reheat. If it's too hard, add a few drops of oil and reheat. When done, pour into a small lidded jar and let it cool.