English lavender, or Lavandula angustifolia, is not actually native to England but to the Mediterranean. Lavender flower is a favorite for its sweet, relaxing, floral aroma, and the flowers and leaves have a long history of use in traditional western herbalism. Dried lavender flowers can be added to potpourri blends, used as a cooking or baking spice, and incorporated into body care recipes.
For years we have sold both Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula x intermedia as Lavender flowers. We are now excited to be able to offer you both of these beautiful flowers. In general, they can be used interchangeably; however some people do prefer one over the other.
Lavandula angustifolia is the classic lavender that most people are familiar with. It can also be found on the market as Common Lavender, French Lavender (when it comes from France), True Lavender, or Lavender. You may also see it labeled as Lavandula officinalis. This little greyish purple flower is known for its sweet floral aroma. The genus Lavandula is in the mint family.
Lavender is an aromatic perennial evergreen shrub. Its woody stems bear lavender or purple flowers from late spring to early autumn, although there are varieties with blossoms of white or pink. Lavender is native to the Mediterranean, but now cultivated in cool-winter, dry-summer areas in Europe and the Western United States. The use of Lavender goes back thousands of years, with the first recorded uses by the Egyptians during the mummification process. Both the Greeks and the Romans had many uses for it, the most popular being for bathing, cooking, and as an ingredient in perfume. Lavender was used as an after-bath perfume by the Romans, who gave the herb its name from the Latin lavare, to wash. During the Great Plague of 1665, grave robbers would wash their hands in a concoction called Four Thieves Vinegar, which contained lavender, wormwood, rue, sage, mint, and rosemary, and vinegar; they rarely became infected. English folklore tells that a mixture of lavender, mugwort, chamomile, and rose petals will attract sprites, fairies, brownies, and elves.
As a spice, lavender is best known as an important aspect of French cuisine and is an integral ingredient in herbs de Provence seasoning blends. Lavender may be used on its own to give a delightful, floral flavor to desserts, meats, and breads. The flowers can also be layered within sugar to infuse it with its distinctive aroma for use in cookies and candies.
Similar to cilantro, some individuals perceive the taste of lavender in a manner that is undesirable within cuisine. An estimated 10% of the population interprets lavender to have a soapy and unsavory flavor. For this reason, it may be wise to exercise caution while using lavender as a flavoring agent.
Lavender has been thought for centuries to arouse passions as an aphrodisiac and is still one of the most recognized scents in the world.
What’s the difference between the Extra, Select, and Super grades?
All grades of our French lavender possess a very fragrant aroma and distinct flavors that become more subtle when used in an infusion, such as a tea. They’re all perfectly suitable for culinary use, crafts, potpourri, and for therapeutic use such as in body care products like soap, oils, lotions, and shampoos. There are slight variations of color and aroma between each grade.
Extra grade lavender has a slightly bitter, floral, grassy flavor enhanced by the aroma. The flowers have a little more green or blue-grey color compared to Select and Super, and also contains slightly more stems and leaves. This makes it a cost-effective alternative in culinary preparations and crafts that do not rely on visual presentation. Perfect for use in sachets, tinted containers, and especially in our Starwest Organic Lavender Dryer Bags!
Select grade has a more pronounced floral flavor with hints of grass, but less bitter. It possesses a subtly fresh, sweeter flavor that works well as a culinary ingredient and in loose teas and tea bags. It has a medium deepness of lavender color, less stems and leaves. The deeper color also means Select lavender will look nice in clear and open containers of potpourri and other herbal blends.
Super grade lavender has a citrus-like taste, hints of sweetness and rosemary, and a stronger floral flavor. It is brighter and subtly peppery when raw. The color is rich and vibrant and contains the least amount of stems and leaves. With the abundance of flowers and buds, Super grade lavender is perfect for loose teas (especially if you intend to make a tea with only lavender, not as a blend) and in any application that calls for open or clear containers, such as potpourri, where the colors are sure to be prominent.
No known precautions. We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For educational purposes only.