Califonia Bountiful

More to love about lavender

It's the sweet smell of success for a Capay Valley couple growing lavender for a living.

With its stunning blue-violet spikes and soothing fragrance, lavender is known for its aromatherapy use. But did you know it’s also a favorite ingredient among chefs? At Cache Creek Lavender in Yolo County, an English variety is harvested, dried and bottled for use in the kitchen.

Jeffrey Riggs, executive chef at Del Paso Country Club in Sacramento, says he uses culinary lavender to keep savory entrées and salads light. Just make sure it’s the right variety.

“You can’t just pick it out of the garden because it may not be culinary lavender,” explains Riggs. “The culinary lavender is less bitter and more palatable.”

The secret is to use it sparingly, as you would rosemary. Riggs recommends using your imagination when cooking with lavender. From a lavender glazed duck to lavender martinis, the sky’s the limit.

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