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  • Writer's pictureSweet Pea Specialists

Lemon balm - Melissa officinalis

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial herbaceous herb from the mint family. The leaves, which have a mild lemon aroma, are used to make medicine and flavour foods.

Lemon Balm has a delicate lemon flavour and has a wide variety of uses. The fresh leaves can be used as a garnish for drinks, desserts and savoury dishes. It adds zing to fruit salads, garden salads, sorbet, herb butters, dressing and sauces. Lemon balm butter with a little pepper added goes well with corn, broccoli, beans and asparagus. Use in marinades or sauces to accompany fish or chicken. An infusion of lemon balm makes a refreshing uplifting tea tha can be served either hot or cold.

Lemon Balm is an excellent foliage filler. Harvest in the morning and condition overnight.

This is an easy to grow plant. I have mine growing on the footpath in full sun in moist but well draining soil. Height 90cm.

Seeds are sown in either autumn or spring. Gently place seeds on top of the soil and sprinkle a light layer of soil over them. Water and keep damp but not wet. Seeds will germinate in 10 to15 days when the temperature reaches 20C. Grow plants to they are around 5cm in height before planting out. Seeds can also be direct sown.

Purchase seeds.

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