Lavender Plant Information | A Plants You Eat and it’s Pretty. Plants you eat and lavender in the same title? Yep! Not only is it a pretty perennial plant and a medicinal, but it is an edible plant as well. I must admit that I have not tried it myself. I went on a buying spree of edible plants about four years ago and have been adding to the collection each year and actually forgot that this one was edible. I’ll be giving it a try next year though.
Here are some of the technical specifications of this useful edible plant. Lavender (Lavandula) has 39 known varieties and falls into the mint family. The leaf shape varies across the different varieties. The first picture below shows the lavender in my garden, which I think is English Lavender. Most plants that I have seen in the mid-Atlantic region look similar.
More Lavender Plant Information
Lavender has purple flower on top of light green stalks. There is a color named for the shade of the flower. English lavender blooms from late spring into early summer. Lavender grows slow and it can take up to three years before it reaches full maturity.
The Lavender plant does best in dry, well-drained sandy soil in full sun. There are perennial and annual varieties. I live in zone 7 and my lavender has survived over winter three years now. English lavender is winter hardy down to zone 5. Lavender falls into the herbaceous layer in permaculture.
It is used in landscapes, as a culinary herb, in dried flower arrangements, and as an essential oil. I have a lavender plant in my Pasadena, MD garden with the sole purpose to attract beneficial insects. Culinary uses include condiments and are used in desserts, salads and dressings. It can be used in baked goods and pairs well with chocolate.
Essential Oils – Lavender Plant Information
The essential oils are used for fragrance and the oils have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It was used in hospitals during WWI. According to webmd.com it is used for restlessness, insomnia, nervousness, digestive issues, loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, gas, upset stomach, and depression.***
According to the NIH: (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/838.html#Safety)
“Lavender is LIKELY SAFE for most adults in food amounts. It’s POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth, applied to the skin, or inhaled in medicinal amounts.” The cited NIH article does have several precautions and warnings specifically to children, pregnancy and surgical procedures. Please check the article out for details.
Chicken with Herbes de Provence Recipe:
(Recipe from www.whatscookingamerica.net/Poultry/HerbesDeProvenceChicken.htm)
Recipe Type: Poultry, Chicken
Yields: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
4 chicken boneless breast halves (with skin)*
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence**
* Do not remove skin until after baking, as the skin helps to retain moisture in the meat.
** Herbes de Provence – An assortment of dried herbs said to reflect those most commonly used in southern France. The mixture commonly contains basil, fennel seed, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, summer savory, and thyme.
Place chicken breasts, single layer, into an ungreased 13×9-inch baking dish.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine olive oil and the herbes de Provence together. Pour marinade over chicken breasts. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes or refrigerate to marinate longer (turning meat over several times).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake, uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (juices will run clear when cut with the tip of a knife); basting several times during cooking. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
***These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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