Those of you who have touched or even been in close proximity to lemon balm will probably be aware of its intoxicating aroma. This perennial garden herb smells like teatime, bath time, and treat time all at once.
Lemon balm plants are commonly found at nurseries and are super easy to grow from clippings. Because lemon balm is from the mint family, once you have planted it in your garden or a pot, you will soon have enough to add to all kinds of recipes and projects.
Picking a lemon balm leaf and inhaling its lemony, sherbet-like scent, will likely induce a mouthwatering reaction and a desire to invite it into your home and life in as many ways as possible.
Garden Bug Repellent
Planting swaths of lemon balm around your house or putting pots of it on your patio can help in repelling bugs. Put the plants in places where they are likely to be knocked, disturbed by passing legs, or can be easily ruffled by hand when mosquitoes are buzzing around. This action alone will cause the plant to release some of its bug-repelling aromas.
The adventurous among you may have already experimented with herbs other than basil to make pesto, but have you tried lemon balm? Take your favorite vegan pesto recipe and simply swap out the basil for lemon balm. Now, you’ll have a pasta dish that tastes light and lemony fresh.
Lemon balm, used in aromatherapy, is said to have a calming and stress-reducing effect. Fill a small muslin or cheesecloth bag with either dried or fresh lemon balm leaves (if you use fresh, try to crush the leaves a little to help them release their oils) and hang it over your bathtub faucet. Let the water run through the herb bag while the tub is filling. Afterward, leave the “teabag” in the water with you while you inhale and soak your stress away.
Herbal Vinegar Infusion
Fill a jar with warm vinegar of your choice, add sprigs of lemon balm, and seal it tightly. Leave the jar for a week while the herbs infuse into the vinegar. If you wish for it to be a stronger flavor, simply leave it to infuse further. Once ready, strain out the leaves, and use the herbal-infused vinegar in your favorite salad dressing recipes for an extra lemony kick.
Now you have the dressing, what about the salad? With the warmer weather on its way, soon salads will start to feature on our plates more and more. Adding freshly chopped lemon balm leaves to your mixed salad will liven it up with a tangy twist.
Lemon Balm Ice Cream
And now dessert. Why not try this heavenly OGP no-churn vegan ice cream by Kat Kothgasser? With just five ingredients, you can make a creamy yet refreshing dish for the warmer days to come. Real lemon juice is added to this recipe for an even more intense citrus flavor.
Herb-Infused Sun Tea
Source: Randall Chancellor/Flickr
With sun tea, as the name suggests, we ask the sun, not the kettle, to brew this summertime beverage for us. Fill a glass jar with water and add a teabag. This does not have to be black tea. Next, add a handful of fresh lemon balm. Screw on a lid and set the jar out in a sunny spot where it can brew in the sun’s rays. Chill before serving.
Herbal Ice Cubes
If you want to add some flare and even more zest to that sun tea, make some lemon balm ice cubes. Add lemon balm leaves to your ice cube trays before filling them with water and freezing them. Perhaps add a little edible flower or piece of fruit to each ice cube to pretty things up even more.
Hot Herbal Tea
A hot cup of lemon balm tea is said to help calm nervous energy, promote peaceful sleep, and generally help de-stress. You can use fresh or dried leaves to make your tea, though the dried leaves are more concentrated. Fresh leaves can be added to the water while it boils in order to promote a deeper infusion.
Just Sniff It
Simply rubbing fresh lemon balm leaves between your hands to release their heavenly scent can be enough to get a quick fix of this powerful herb. Rub your lemon-scented hands over your hair and bare skin to be surrounded by its fragrance.
There are so many easy ways to bring lemon balm’s delicious aroma into your home and life. Use it to liven and lemon up favorite recipes or to relax you when you feel frazzled.
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