B&B Family Farm

What Kind of Lavender Can You Eat?

By B&B Family Farm March 2016

Is  Lavender Edible?, Is All Lavender Edible?

The short answer is yes, the long answer is well it depends what you consider edible.  The first thing we need to address is the different species of lavender.  Lavandula Angustifolia, or commonly referred to as English Lavender is one of the most common species of lavender and is the most widely used for culinary purposes.  Any variety in this species can be used for cooking but some varieties work better than other (we will get to that later).  Other species like French Lavender which is a hybrid between Lavandula Angustifolia and Lavandula Latifolia is another very common species of lavender.  This species is called Lavandula X Intermedia and often referred to as Lavandins.  While lavandins are beautiful and smell great there is only one variety in this species that is commonly used in cooking, that variety is Provence.  

Why can't I cook with French Lavender?

The answer is really taste. French lavender or lavandins have a lot more camphor in there buds and oil than are found in English lavenders.  Camphor is on of the scents (menthol is another) you get when you smell vapor rubs that you put on your chest when you are congested.  While camphor's taste was used in sweet and savory dishes in medieval times, it has lost favor over the years.  Also camphor is toxic in larger doses.  While lavender will most likely not produce enough camphor to get you sick, it is not recommended to cook with most french varieties of lavender.