Fruit Salad with Lemon Balm Vinaigrette

too pretty to eat

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.

The Salad

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.

Melissa officinalis

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?

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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