Thursday, June 4, 2015

Project 2 :: Yard Harvesting :: Lemon Balm

I love using plants from our yard. We have this fantastic yard, with so many useful and edible plants growing in it. In fact I probably know about 20% of what is actually growing in our yard. It really is amazing. Last year I canned and made a few things from the yard (some of which will probably pop up here as projects again this year), but project 2 was new. Lemon balm looks like mint and grows rapid like mint, but as the name might suggest it smells lemony. It is a very fragrant plant, it keeps mosquitos away (if we had any around here!) and is really easy to maintain (as in you do nothing to it at all and it looks great). I have been picking the leaves and steeping them in hot water for a nice tea in the evening. I decided to dry a few batches to use all year long for tea or in other herbal remedies yet to be determined.
It was really simple, the most time consuming part really is just laying all the leaves out. I put the oven on the "warm" setting and once it is preheated let it set on warm for 20 mins. Then turned the oven off and placed the baking sheet with the lemon balm in it and closed it until morning.

The next day the lemon balm was perfectly dried and ready to be stored.

I have left some in the whole leaf form in a ziplock container for now and some batches I have "mulched" up and put in lovely repurposed containers to distribute to friends. The dried leaves can be used like tea, as a spice in cooking or used in balms.

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