Uses of Lemon Balm in the Kitchen
Answered by: Yvonne Tremblay
Question from: Jyoti
Posted on: June 13, 2005

I am growing lemon balm in my garden. I bought the plant as an addition to my green foliage in the garden. But now I have found out that this plant can be used in the kitchen. Could you help me and advise me on how to use the lemon balm.

Lemon balm, also called sweet melissa, is a lemon scented herb in the mint family, with soft rounded green leaves which have a lemony tang. Lemon balm grows in full sun to partial shade. It can be used in cooking similarly to mint and used in dishes where you would like a subtle lemon flavour. Add chopped leaves to fruit salad. Make a butter adding about 1/4 cup chopped leaves to 1/2 cup butter; use on grilled or baked fish, vegetables such as green beans, green peas, zucchini, etc. Add whole leaves with ice cubes to a glass of lemonade, iced tea, cranberry juice, or a white wine spritzer (white wine, sparkling or soda water, on ice). Add a handful of fresh leaves when brewing Earl Grey tea; serve hot or cold with lemon slices. Dry the leaves for adding to tea as well.

Could it be used as medicinal purposes?

[Medicinal question answered by Conrad Richter:] Yes, lemon balm is medicinal also. It is calming and is useful for many nervous complaints such as hysteria, melancholy and insomnia. It is also beneficial for digestive problems. I find that lemon balm tea is a perfect after dinner or evening tea because it helps to settle the body and mind down and prepare you for a good night’s sleep. Lemon balm also has potent antiviral properties.

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