Tuesday, August 23, 2011

lemon balm iced tea.

If you grow mint and lemon balm like I do, then you know this time of year they are both attempting to take over the entire garden. Which of course makes it the perfect time to pick bowls full and make tea. I tend to use mostly lemon balm and add a cup or two of fresh spearmint or apple mint for a mild hint of mint. You can make this all herbal...or do as I usually do, which is add some aromatic green tea leaves at the end for some caffeine. Jasmine is fantastic.

This is such a good tea - you can really smell and taste the mint and lemon balm without it being overpowering. It just tastes like ... summer.

::picking tip::

It is best to pick some time in the morning before peak heat. Pick the overabundant fresh shoots and leave any woody flowering stems for the bees.

::how to::

Fill a crock pot/slow cooker with freshly picked and rinsed lemon balm leaves and stems (pick off any brown bits), and fresh mint (optional). Add enough water just to cover, and heat on LOW for 3 hours.

After 3 hours add a few teaspoons of green tea (if you want caffeine). Leave for 30 more minutes. Strain out all of the leaves/tea. Add honey to taste. Pour into a pitcher and chill!

A long slow low heat is good for freshly picked herbs - it releases more of the plant oils and keeps a nice bright color!

lemon balm:: Lemon balm is in the mint family and has been used for centuries to relieve stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease stomach aches. It has a great lemony fresh smell and flavor!


Anonymous said...

DUDE!!! that sounds so amazing! Denise, you are the best!!! :)

erin said...

looks really great and i love the idea of trying the crockpot!!