We recently moved into a new (to us) house and are slowly settling in and exploring our new spot. A few weeks ago, I was very happy to discover that we have some lemon balm growing.
“Some lemon balm” is a bit of an understatement as it’s actually taken over all the flower beds along one whole side of the house. But I don’t mind because it’s so lovely – with a potent minty, lemony smell and the flavor to match.
Lemon balm, a.k.a., Melissa officinalis is a panacea-type herb. It can be used as a mosquito repellent, an antiviral, an antibiotic, an anxiolytic or sedative, and an antioxidant. It’s also said to improve mood and mental performance and to help regulate weight and prevent obesity.
|Drawing by Franz Eugen Köhler, 1897|
DAG! All this from a garden weed that requires absolutely no effort on my part to grow??? I’ll take a whole overgrown flowerbed full of the stuff!
Between the move and the kids and work, I have very little time so I’ve just been making a simple tea from the leaves. No exact ratios or amounts required!
All you do is:
1. Pick the leaves – gather a really big bunch – like 4-6 loosely packed cups worth
2. Wash them in cold water and set aside
3. Boil 6 or so cups of water
4. Submerge the leaves in the boiling water and steep for 5-10 minutes
5. Remove the leaves and pour!
You can then drink it hot (though not in this weather…) or iced. It tastes good just as it is – there’s no need to sweeten it.
I’m also looking forward to drying lots of lemon balm leaves in our new food dehydrator, Excalibur, to have some stores on hand for the winter months. And, perhaps I’ll try making a simple syrup with it to use in summer spritzers or sorbet. I’ll keep you posted.
You might also like:
- Meyer Lemon & Bergamot Orange Citrus Cooler
- Strawberry Mint Lemonade
- Wild Blackberry Sorbet with Garden Mint & Lavender