Lemon Balm Tea Recipe (Herbal Iced Tea)
Lemon balm is known by many names, such as balm mint, bee balm, blue balm, cure-all, garden balm, honey plant, melissa, sweet balm or even sweet Mary. These names describe the properties of the herb very well. Lemon balm was dedicated to the goddess Diana, and used medicinally by the Greeks. It is believed that lemon balm tea is a tension reliever and enhances relaxation, especially in expectant women.
My husband Lulu planted lemon balm in our garden a couple of years ago. Like mint, lemon balm grows easily and requires very little maintenance. The first crop of leaves was ready to be used this week, and we were all looking forward to a tall pitcher of lemon balm iced tea. For optimum fragrance, I waited for a sunny day to pick the leaves. First, I bruised the leaves and infused them in hot water. I added simple syrup and lemon juice to balance the flavor. I then added ice cubes to bring down the temperature of the tea. After a little time in the fridge, it was ready to serve.
The tea is incredibly soothing. When you swirl it, you can see the reflection of the essential oils from the lemon balm on the surface of the drink. It definitely sets the mood for a lazy summer day.
Yields: 8 servings2-½ cups superfine sugar (or granulated sugar), or any other sweetener
1-½ quarts water
1 quart ice cubes
20 to 30 sprigs fresh lemon balm
For the lemons: Prior to cutting, roll the lemons on a cutting board to release as much juice as possible. Trim one end and juice the lemons using a reamer or a teaspoon. Gather a scant cup of lemon juice.
Making the herbal tea: Wash the lemon balm thoroughly in several baths. Slightly bruise the leaves using a mortar and pestle. Bring 4 cups of water to a full boil. Remove from the stove. Immediately place the leaves into the water and let them steep for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
For the simple syrup: In a saucepan, dissolve the sugar in about 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove from the stove and cool completely. Add the lemon juice.
For the lemon balm iced tea: Combine the simple syrup and herbal syrup. Place the ice cubes in a tall pitcher, top with the drink and complete with 1 cup of water.
Depending on how potent the flavor of the lemon juice, you can also add lemon zest to the boiling water if you like.
You can strain the liquid before serving if you don't want the lemon balm leaves in the drink when serving.
Lemon balm is one of the easiest herbs to grow. We planted it a couple of years ago and it produces 2 large crops every season.
Published By: on May 18, 2010.