The fragrant herb lavender does it all: freshens closets, flavors foods, soothes nerves and spices up the bedroom. It's a potion for little old ladies and ice cream junkies.
Now is the time to get your purple haze on. The Sequim Lavender Festival on July 18, 19 and 20 has three days of farm tours, cooking demos, products, plants and everything lavender.
Snohomish County is no Sequim, but lavender grows well here and local nurseries sell varieties not found at big box garden stores. Options come with names such as Violet Intrigue, Sweet Romance and Phenomenal.
Which is the best?
“I always urge people to pinch and sniff to see what they like,” said Kip Litehiser, edibles expert at The Plant Farm at Smokey Point.
Go ahead, take a bite. It's a member of the mint family.
Lazy gardeners, this bud is for you.
“It's easy maintenance. It is the plant that loves to be neglected,” said Plant Farm employee Jessie Dionne. “It's lovely because it blooms all summer long and keeps its foliage all winter.”
Dionne said people like the good memories it evokes. “Like their childhood with their grandparents playing with them.”
Lavender's role in medicine and mythology dates back centuries. It was used for mummification, to ward off evil and protect against the plague.
These days, it has plenty of fun uses.
The syrup is a popular flavoring for coffees to cocktails. Snoqualmie Ice Cream in Maltby scoops up a gourmet French Lavender ice cream. The lavender is grown on the farm, dried and steeped in hot cream to infuse the flavor.
And, ladies, don't forget to put those lavender sachets in your drawers. Spray it on the sheets. It's known as the “herb of love” for a reason.
Lavender is a libido booster, says Helen Yoest, author of “Plants with Benefits. An Uninhibited Guide to the Aphrodisiac Herbs, Fruits, Flowers & Veggies in Your Garden.” According to Yoest, the sultry smell was Cleopatra's secret weapon to seduce powerful men and that modern-day scientists have proven in lab tests the scent of lavender increases blood flow for men.
So, indulge in the purple. You decide how.
Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sequim Lavender Festival
- ¾–1 cup tequila
- 1/3–½ cup blue curacao or other orange flavor liqueur
- ¾–1 cup canned coconut milk
- ¼–1/3 cup lime juice
- 1½–2 cups frozen unsweetened raspberries
- 1½–2 cups frozen unsweetened blueberries
- 3-4 ice cubes
- 1 teaspoon lavender
In a blender, combine the tequila, curacao, coconut milk and lime juice. Cover and turn to high speed, then gradually add berries and ice. Whirl until smooth and slushy. Pour into glasses. You can rub glass rims with lime and dip the rim in lavender sugar or salt. Add a lavender sprig for garnish.
Source: Sunset Magazine
Tips on drying lavender for cooking and crafts
2. Let the lavender dry for about a week until there is no moisture on the stems in the center. Use it for dried floral bouquets, sachets, crafts, wedding favors and cooking. After about a year of being exposed to sunlight, the lavender color will fade. Turn the flowers into a sachet and pick another bouquet to replace it.
Source: Purple Haze Lavender Farm
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