It’s time to reinvigorate!
Thank you for joining me. It’s been a busy season, but here’s to some fresh new thinking!
Summer is almost here. Heatwaves are upon us, and succulent fruits and veggies are ripening for use.
Everyone is bustling about, enjoying the fruits of the season at farmer’s markets and from home gardens! These include aromatic and therapeutic kitchen herbs. Some of them, like lemon balm, are very vigourous growers, and it pays to know several delicious or useful applications for them! Lemon balm, or Melissa officianalis, is a member of the mint family. This unique botanical name comes to us from both Greek and Latin. Melissa, comes from the Greek for honey bee. How delightful!
Officianalis has medieval Latin origins for “used in medicine”. Traditionally it has been used by beekeepers to attract bees and settle a hive. This is a reason why it is one of the plants referred to as “bee balm”.
So what to do with this prolific grower!?
What’s not to do!? There are a myriad of practical uses for lemon balm. In culinary terms, it is fantastic for its lemony, fresh and verbaceous flavor without exuding acid. Therefore it can be used with creamy sauces or dairy applications without being highly reactive. It can also be made into a vinegar, and used any number of ways.
Often it is used in teas, cocktails, and other beverages to give that unique bright flavor alternative, as opposed to mint. It is great muddled or used as an edible garnish. By itself, it makes a refreshing tea.
It is certainly great in desserts, either chopped, with candied leaves, or simply sprinkled. The possibilities for it are endless.
Not to be dismissed are it’s therapeutic uses.
Lemon balm fans claim it helps with a host of conditions:
- insomnia, anxiety and stress (as a tea, glycerite, syrup with honey, or tincture)
- disgestive issues
- wound dressing, bug bites, and mosquito repellent
- cold sores, acne, and other conditions as skin cleanser or soother (mixed with cosmetic clay or as a skin and hair wash)
Sound like fun?
Just be sure to wash thoroughly and give it a good thrash, as bees and humans are not the only critters it attracts!
Enjoy your garden-loving herb and have a great time this Summer!