Grow your own
Of all the herbs growing in my back garden lemon balm has to be the one that needs the least care. It sits in some badly draining soil, never gets watered is never protected over the winter and tends to get hacked right back once or twice a year if I remember. She is also the one herb that I harvest the most from and she keeps on giving. Thankfully, I treat my partner better than I do my herbs or I’d have been single for some time.
There is one word of warning about lemon balm, though, it can be prolific. My patch is kept at bay by the surrounding yarrow and sage. However, I do have cut back at the mosaic of roots that seem come from every angle. I also try and cut it back after it flowers as it will self-seed all over the place. From experience, it has travelled 20 meters up the hill and seeded between concrete slabs.
Lemon Balm and rocket pesto
Once you have some lemon balm growing you’ll never be short of it therefore, it is certainly worth looking into some simple recipes to make the most of it. This one for lemon balm pesto make for a fresh tasting but tangy pesto, something to liven your pasta or add a spot of something to Mediterranean food.
- 50g hazelnuts chopped and roasted
- 50g lemon balm
- 30g wild rocket
- 2 medium garlic cloves (peeled)
- 150ml Olive oil
- 50g Parmesan
- season to taste
Combine all but the cheese and oil in a blender and whizz up. Once you have a good paste start to pour in the oil and pulse your pesto. Grate in the parmesan and pulse for a bit until blended then add seasoning if required. Give it a taste and perhaps add more oil if it’s too solid, you could also add lemon, lime juice to taste or even a spot of Lemon balm-ade!
My niece and nephew are confirmed coke heads, they love nothing more than a few glasses of the fizzy, sugary drink. Fuelled mainly more by the lack of fizzy drinks (other than tonic water), I decided to treat them to something very different and something that was sugar-free and additive free too.
- Two handfuls of washed lemon balm leaves
- 2 nitrous oxide canisters (8g)
- 1 Carbon dioxide canister (8g)
- 500ml water
Stuff a cream whipper or infuser with lemon balm leaves and top up with water. Seal and blast with two N20 canisters. This will infuse the lemon balm into the water and it can then be strained into bottles or straight into a glass.
It will be a little fizzy if drunk immediately. However, for longer lasting bubbles you may want to add a blast of CO2.