Sometimes simple is both elegant and really tasty. The picture says everything.
1 cup of seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 cup of lemon balm leaves
1 TBSP of honey
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the vinegar until it is boiling. Remove from heat and add the honey and leaves. Let cool and steep for 30 minutes. Strain out the leaves and add in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
1 TBSP each of dried -blueberries, currants, golden raisins, cherries or cranberries. Soaked in hot water, drained and set aside
1 orange, peeled, sectioned and chopped in large pieces
1 apple , cored and chopped into large pieces
1 pear , cored and chopped into large pieces
1/4 cup of toasted slivered almonds.
Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Drizzle in dressing to taste. Top with…..
edible flowers (your choice of primrose, calendula petals, violet, pansy, malva, borage or nasturtium) and finely chopped lemon balm leaves. Serve at once.
Lemon balm has so many possibilities as a culinary ingredient. It smells and tastes a bit like lemon but without the sour or acid of citrus. If you like sweets consider it for ice cream, jelly, candied leaves, smoothies, cheesecake, or fruit. If you like savory you could try it in salsa, pesto, stuffed fish, butter/cream cheese, or salad. Think of it as a substitute for any dish that would call for mint, basil, cilantro, or spinach. It has a lovely subtle taste that is not too floral or intense. I like it especially in ice cold sun tea, you don’t even need sweetener.
Lemon balm is in the mint family. It has a square stem, small white/yellow/lavender flowers on a spike, and volatile oils that contribute to its memorable smell (a bit like furniture polish/Pledge). It is thought to clear heat. Some use it as a powerful antiviral for flu, herpes, fever, colds, respiratory infections, asthma and childhood illnesses. This plant might be a great match for kids suffering from nightmares , anxiety, hyperactivity, insomnia, stomachache, teething and restlessness. For adults it has been used to treat headaches, heart palpations, indigestions, menstrual cramps, spasms, pain, nausea, and nervousness. Externally it may helpful for all manner of wounds, cold sores, insect bites, sunburn, and growths. It makes for a nice addition to a calming bath.
How do you like to use lemon balm?