Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Lavender plants: How to make DIY sachets and Shortbread Cookies

lavender field
Over the past years, we have visited a couple of lavender farms in Ontario, which are costly and crowded especially when lavender plants are in full bloom. Since we didn't travel last summer, we had time to pay attention to the lavender plants we planted a couple of summers ago. We harvested the flowers, bundled, and dried it to make sachets and to make different desserts.
lavender field
lavender plant
lavender plant
The harvested lavender were bundled up and dried for several weeks away from light. When bundling the buds we separated the bundles by the colours of the flowers at the time we harvested it, where some flowers were open and others were not.
lavender bundle
We used an embroidery hoop, hung it in a hook and used ribbon to hang the lavender bundles upside down. I put a cloth to catch any dry flowers that fall, but there weren't many that fell. 
lavender plant
The room smelled really good while the lavender buds dried. It is best to harvest before the lavender buds open and when it looks dark purple. In the above picture you can see the difference of the colours. The dark purple flower buds before opening are the best.
 lavender flowers
For some of the bundles by the time it was harvested the flowers opened. Since the open flowers are lighter in colour and the lavender scent and flavour isn't as strong, we put the dried flowers into sachets that are kept in between blankets and clothes. 
lavender sachet
Quick lavender sachets can be made with cheesecloth or cotton linen by sewing little bags. To make these bags you will need...
rectangle shape material
sewing machine or needle and thread

Fold the material in half with the good side of material facing in, stitch two of the sides. Turn it over so the good side of the material is facing out. Insert the dried lavender flowers to fill the bag and then fold the open side to close the sachet. Hold it tightly and sew the side so the sachet will be closed from all sides.
Instead of sewing, store bought organza bags can be used to put the dry lavender buds, which can be placed under the pillow or in between clothes.
lavender shortbread cookies
We use the dry bright purple flower buds for culinary purposes from putting it into desserts to savoury dishes. These stay well in an airtight container. Here is a recipe to make our favourite lavender shortbread cookies.

2 tsp dried lavender 
350 g or 3/4 lbs salted butter at room temperature 
1 cup sugar 
17.5 ounces all purpose flour 

Grind the lavender finely using a mortar and pestle, until it resembles a powder you will still be able to see specks of lavender.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter, sugar, and dried lavender powder until combined and it spread around the bowl. Add flour to the bowl, and mix together until the flour incorporates to form a ball of dough. It is easier to bring the flour together using our hands. 

Roll the dough out on a baking mat about 1/2" thick, then cut desired shapes. Place the cookies on a baking tray and leave it in the refrigerate for at least one hour, until it is cold and firm to the touch. Preheat the oven to 350F and bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes. The baking time depends on the size of the cookies. 

The cookies are ready when the edges are lightly golden brown and the bottoms are done. As the cookies cool to room temperature it will harden so do not over bake. Keep an eye on the cookies after about 10 minutes of baking. These cookies keep well for at least a week in an air tight container.

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