Lemon Balm

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Lemon Balm or Melissa
Lemon Balm Growing

Lemon Balm, Melissa or Balm is related to mint, with leaves that look similar to garden mint. Its smell is sweet, refreshing and citrus-like when fresh, releasing strong aromas when crushed.

Lemon balm is best used fresh as the lemony notes are lost on drying. If you think of it like a lemon-mint, then its uses are wide.

Lemon balm is best used uncooked, so add to salads or chopped and added into vinaigrette. Use lemon balm in a stuffing for poultry or in your court bouillon for fish or chopped into herb sauces. But the cooked lemon balm does not have as much freshness as you would hope for.

Melissa Tea helps promote relaxation and good sleep. Simply pick a few fresh leaves from the garden, tear them in a few places and infuse in a mug with boiling water for at least 5 minutes. If using dried lemon balm or melissa, add 1 tsp per cup and pour over boiling water.

Further reading

  • Hemphill, I., Hemphill, K. (2014) The Spice and Herb Bible, Robert Rose. ISBN 9780778804932.
  • McVicar, J. (1999, republished 2006) Jekka's Complete Herb Book, Silverdale Books. ISBN 9781845093709.
  • Norman, J. (2015) Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference, DK Publishing. ISBN 9781465435989.