Lemon Balm


Kitchen gardening

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm (Melissa officianalis) is a compact, perennial herb with a lemon scent that produces small white flowers in summer. The flowers are filled with nectar which attracts bees, giving it the genus name Melissa (Greek for honey bee).

Planting tips :

  • Plant lemon balm in moist, fertile soil in an area that receives morning sun and afternoon shade.
  • It can also be grown indoors as a potted herb, providing the pot has adequate drainage.
  • It left in the garden, it will self-seed and spread prolifically – you may have to cut it back drastically each year to prevent it from taking over.
  • The leaves of lemon balm are best used fresh, straight after picking as they lose their flavour when they are dried.
  • The best way to preserve lemon balm leaves is to freeze them with water in ice trays.

Uses :

  • Lemon balm has a subtle lemon taste, which is very useful when you want to add a touch of lemon flavour, without it overwhelming the dish.
  • Add chopped lemon balm leaves to salads, egg dishes, mayonnaise and marinades for pork and poultry.
  • It can also be used as a substitute for sage when stuffing pork, veal, poultry or pasta.
  • Lemon balm tea is an excellent digestive drink to serve after a heavy meal. Steep fresh leaves in boiling water and add honey to sweeten if you prefer.