As our Mary Berry recipe for Lavender biscuits is our most clicked on recipe I thought I would recommend the best lavender for cooking which I am just planting in my own garden. All summer I have been relying on lavender given to me by my friends who in return I have baked biscuits for!
There are so many different varieties of lavender that choosing the right one to use in your cooking is rather difficult. Pick the right one and you have a delicious light minty sweet perfumed one, choose the wrong one and it’s camphorous and revolting.
The best lavender to cook with is Angustifolia. The optimum flavour comes from the closed buds as they keep the essential oils in.
There are many you can use but the most common are Hidcote, Munstead and Rosea which flower late May, June and July. You can see all three of these in the picture. The Rosea is pink, the Munstead lilac and at the back is the dark blue Hidcote.
For your information, throughout the Middle Ages lavender Angustifolia was dried and used in religious communities as medicine. The first ever mention on lavender was by musician and herbalist Abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 1179) where she mentions it as having “strong odour and many virtues.”