The Origin of Lavender
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) is an ancient aromatic herb and like rosemary-a member of the mint family. Spike shaped flowers range from deep purple to pale pink and even white. Having originated in the hot Mediterranean climate, lavender thrives best in hot dry climates with rocky,alkaline soil.
It is believed the word lavender was named by the Romans who used it in their famous baths. The word “lavender” is derived from the Latin word “lavare” meaning-“to wash.”
Legend tells that Adam and Eve took lavender with them upon being banished from the Garden of Eden. Lavender is said to have received its distinctive perfume when Mary laid Jesus’ clothes on a lavender bush to dry.
Lavender was reputed to be a safeguard against evil. A cross of lavender was hung over the door for protection.
Women used to throw laundry over lavender bushes so the clothing would absorb the scent of lavender as it dried.
Honey Lavender Ice Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 2/3 cup mild honey
- 2 tablespoons dried edible lavender flowers*
- 2 large eggs
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Bring cream, half-and-half, honey, and lavender just to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, then remove pan from heat. Let steep, covered, 30 minutes.
Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard lavender. Return mixture to cleaned saucepan and heat over moderate heat until hot.
Whisk together eggs and salt in a large bowl, then add 1 cup hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Pour into remaining hot cream mixture in saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 170 to 175°F on thermometer, about 5 minutes (do not let boil).
Pour custard through sieve into cleaned bowl and cool completely, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours.
Freeze custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.