Fragrant and beautiful, lavender has many wonderful uses.
In addition to the tastiest lemonade you’ll ever drink, Richelle Reilly (pictured here) has come up with lots of uses for fresh lavender, which she grows and sells along with fresh cut flowers at McReilly Farms, open weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Pick up a bundle and experiment with some of her favorite ways to use fresh lavender:
Lemonade: Make a tea with fresh lavender leaves and hot water. Strain the water and add it to your lemonade. Put a dollop of honey infused with fresh lavender in iced tea, or put dried lavender flowers in your sugar bowl. For an unexpected surprise, add fresh lavender flowers to a very cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc. The wine’s fruitiness pairs well with lavender.
Grilling: Tie fresh lavender and fresh rosemary into a bundle and place it on the grill with your favorite meat (lamb is particularly yummy with lavender).
Cooking: Add one-half teaspoon of dried lavender to your favorite sugar-cookie mix, or make fresh homemade lavender ice cream. Blend chopped lavender flowers with butter for a savory scone topping.
Carpet freshener: After the fresh lavender dries, grind it up and add it to baking soda, then sprinkle it on your carpet. When you vacuum, the whole house will smell like lavender and it’ll freshen your vacuum cleaner, too.
Dog deodorizer: Rub a clump of fresh or dried lavender into your dog’s fur.
Sleep aid: Squeeze fresh lavender flowers to release their calming oils onto your fingertips, then rub your temples. Or boil dried flowers in water and inhale the vapors.
Antiseptic: Rub lavender essential oil or fresh lavender flowers on a cut to hasten healing.
Potpourri: Mix dried lavender flowers with fresh thyme, rosemary or mint leaves, ground coriander and ground cloves for an aromatic potpourri.
Bath sachet: Place 2 tablespoons of lavender and 2 tablespoons of oatmeal in a muslin bag or cheesecloth, and tie it beneath the bath spigot so water flows through it. Rub the bag on your skin while bathing. Or add 1 pound of baking soda, 7 to 10 drops of lavender essential oil and a handful of fresh lavender blossoms to a warm bath.
Mister: Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a sprayer bottle of water for a refreshing room mister or a dog deodorizer