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Old May 4, 2007   #1
jenn_sc
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Default What do you do with Lemon Balm?

I purchased a lemon balm plant recently. It is happy in it's new larger pot and is starting to produce lots of big lemony leaves. So now what the heck do I do with them?

Some websites suggest tea. I'm not sure that I'd like that. The lemon scent is very strong and sort of reminds me of furniture polish. I'm not a big fan of hot herbal teas anyway. (I do like Celestial Seasonings Raspberry Zinger, but over ice, not hot)

So have any of you grown lemon balm? Does anyone have suggestions for using it besides tea? I hate to have it go to waste, although I do enjoy simply picking a leaf to sniff now and again.

Jennifer
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Old May 4, 2007   #2
nctomatoman
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well, we notice it growing everywhere (once it goes to seed it seems to spread all over our yard) - so we step on it, pull it, mow it - amazingly, we've yet to use it! Oh yes - we love to pick leaves and smell it. We've read that it is a great herb for dogs for many uses - and of course, makes a calming tea - so we need to take some of our copious Lemon Balm and actually try to do something with it!
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Old May 4, 2007   #3
Zana
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Jennifer,
I've used the leaves to make tea - both hot and iced teas. If you have some untreated rosehips and some lemon balm leaves, crush them both and put them in a pot with hot water (you can add other dried berries too, as per your own taste). Let it steep until well flavoured. Then either drink it hot or chill it for iced tea.

I've also dried leaves to add to marinades or bbq rubs, stuffed fish or chicken with the leaves, some onions, celery and other spices, or added leaves to the water for boiling/steaming other veggies. The latter is especially good when steaming snow peas, broccoli and cauliflower. You can add the leaves to the liquid in which you poach fish or poultry or to tomato sauces for a bit of a zing.

As you can see, I've used it a few different ways....so far. And like Craig said, if you let it go to seed, you will find it everywhere! Beware, because like most other mints it will be hard to eradicate.

ps I have heard of somebody that flavoured ice cream or sorbets with it too.

Zana
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Old May 4, 2007   #4
bluelacedredhead
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Make an infusion for adding to bath water. Lovely after a long day in the garden!
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Old May 4, 2007   #5
jenn_sc
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I love the idea of making a bath infusion. How do you do it?

This morning I have been pondering over the idea of drying it and making little pouches of mixed aromatic herbs...lemon balm, lavender, rosemary maybe...not sure what I'd do with them then, lol

Re: making tea and cooking with it...does it retain that strong edge when cooked? Again, the leaves sort of remind me of both furniture polish and citronella. Maybe that goes away when you use it in recipes???
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Old May 4, 2007   #6
bluelacedredhead
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infusion

Nothing difficult.
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Old July 3, 2007   #7
supergirl
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Like Craig, we didn't do much but smell it. I decided that I needed that space in the herb planter for other stuff, so I pulled it out. The catnip will soon follow into the compost bin, since the cat could not be less interested (and this from a cat who looks on a trip outside as a trip to the salad bar...I swear the only reason she wants to go out is to bite the plants...)
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Old July 3, 2007   #8
kelleyville
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You can also steep the leaves with your regular teabags to get a lemon tea when making iced tea. You can also chop it and use it in food that you want a slight lemon tang to use similar to mints. It also makes a pretty aromatic garnish! There are medicinal uses for it but I can't remember what they are at this time-seems like it was good for colds or cramps or maybe it has antiviral properties...my books are all upstairs still in boxes or I could look it up! Here is a link that has some recipes and a ton of information about lemon balm you might like to read! I grab a leaf when i get a bug bite, wet it with my tongue and stick it to the bite. I use lots of lemon balm because the bugs just love me!

Mostly I just love to walk by and smell it!
http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/lemonbalm.html
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Old July 7, 2007   #9
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It's not bad in a thai-herb salad with basil, cilantro, mint, lemon grass, cucumber, dressing of lime juice, fish sauc, hot pepper and white pepper, with sliced marinated bbqd chicken, rump steak, poached prawns or shrimp or fish or scallops, with rice noodles down the bottom of the bowl, and a crisp beer. Finish with a sliced mango and a massage, to which you can add some more lemon balm.
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