One of my recent discoveries is that we have some lemon balm growing.
Quite a lot of it, actually. In fact, it's taken over all the flower beds along one whole side of the house. But I don't mind because it's just so nice with a lovely minty, lemony smell and the flavor to match.
It turns out that Melissa officinalis is a panacea-type deal. Apparently, lemon balm can be used as a: mosquito repellent, an antiviral (Wikipedia notes in particular that it's effective in treating Herpes), 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.
DAG! All this from a garden weed that requires absolutely no effort on my part to grow. If anything, it's probably going to require some effort to contain...
Just writing this list makes me want to drink a pitcher of the stuff but I'm holding off on making a mad dash for the fridge both because I want to finish this post before I have to go to bed in a few minutes and because, if I did drink a bunch of it right now, I'd need to pee all night long - not worth it!
|Drawing by Franz Eugen Köhler, 1897|
I have very little time these days so I've just been making a simple tea from it. 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. And that means a lot coming from me since I like sweet beverages a lot - think Mexican Coke and Southern-style sweet tea. But, for some reason, I find the lemon balm tea I've been making quite perfect without any sweetener.
I'm also looking forward to drying a whole lot of this herb in our food dehydrator, Excalibur, to have some serious stores on hand for the winter months. And, perhaps I'll try making a simple syrup with it (you see, the sugar always finds some way to sneak back in there with me) to use in summer spritzers or sorbet. I'll keep you posted.
Those of you who live near me are welcome to come take some if you don't have access to any. We've got plenty to share.
You might also like:
- Meyer Lemon & Bergamot Orange Citrus Cooler
- Strawberry Mint Lemonade
- Wild Blackberry Sorbet with Garden Mint & Lavender
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