Sunday, September 04, 2016

Lemon Herbs

 As Summer winds down, we start to collect the herbs that we may have allowed to grow during the hot months of July and August.  Lemon Balm, Thyme, and Verbena are grown here each year, and we usually get in some lemon scented geraniums.  Sometimes we have pineapple sage or a basil (we really love lime basil), but so far we haven't grown lemon grass.  Maybe next year...
lemon verbena with blossoms

In any case, it seemed like a good time to share this article from The Essential Herbal (Mar/Apr '11) because it has several great ideas and recipes to use these fragrant and luscious herbs.

Barbara Steele
Alloway Creek Gardens and Herb Farm

Lemon Herbs and Other “Fruity” Herb Flavors

The following herbs have a strong lemon fragrance and have culinary uses.
1. Lemon Balm-use fresh or frozen for best flavor. Strong mosquito repellent
2. Lemon Basil-Mrs. Burn’s Lemon and Lime Basil
3. Lemon Scented Geraniums-Pelargonium crispum, Mabel Grey, Rober’s Lemon
4. Lemon Grass-Cymbopogon citrates-Thai recipes, teas, potpourri
5. Lemon Thymes-variety include Doone Valley, Thymus citriodorus, ‘Lemon Frost
6. Lemon Verbena-Aloysia triphylla-extremely fragrant-culinary, aromatherapy,  potpourri, teas
7. Pineapple Sage-a “fruity-flavored” herb that combines well with the lemon herbs.

Lemon flavored herbs are great for flavoring cookies, vinegar, teas, punches, jellies, tea breads, chicken and fish dishes and adding scent to potpourri blends.  Here are a few recipes that you might want to try!

Lemon Herb Cheese Dip-12 servings
8 oz. cottage cheese
3 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened                            
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (1 tsp. dried)            
1 ½ Tbsp. chopped fresh chives (1 ½ tsp. dried)     
2 tsp. fresh lemon thyme (2/3 tsp. dried)
lemon thyme in bloom

2 tsp. chopped fresh lemon basil (2/3 tsp. dried)
Blend cottage cheese, add cream cheese and beat until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients, cover and refrigerate several hours.  Serve with crackers or fresh vegetables.

Lemon or Lime Basil Vinaigrette                           
1 clove garlic, minced                                               
2 Tbsp. Lime or Lemon Basil chopped                      
2 Tbsp. Chives, chopped                                            
1 shallot or spring onion, minced                             
1 tsp. Dijon mustard                                                   
1/3-1/2 cup of white wine vinegar                              
Ground black pepper and salt (optional) to taste         
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Mash together garlic, chives, and shallot until a paste is formed.  Add to food processor along with the mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Mix well, drizzle the oil in a steady stream while the processor is running until the ingredients are fully emulsified.

Lemon-Rosemary Butter
2 sticks butter-room temperature
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
1 tsp. fresh lemon thyme or lemon verbena finely chopped.
Combine-refrigerate- may be wrapped and frozen.  Nice on muffins, steamed vegetables, and tea breads.

Lemon Verbena Scones
2 cups all purpose flour                                                 
1 ½ rolled oats                                                              
2 tsp. baking powder                                                     
½ tsp. baking soda                                                         -
½ tsp. salt                                                                       
¼ cup brown sugar                                                        
¼ cold butter                                                                  
¼ cup finely chopped fresh lemon verbena leaves       
1 egg, beaten                                                                  
½ cup plain yogurt                                                           -
¼ cup milk                                                                     
 Preheat oven to 425degreesF.  In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar.  Cut in butter  with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the lemon verbena leaves; mix until combined.  Make a well  in center of flour mixture.  Add the egg, yogurt and milk.  Stirring  well.  Mix in with the flour mixture to form a soft dough.  Coat a 12” cast iron skillet with cooking spray.  With floured hands pat the the dough into a circle. Cut into wedges.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, or until lightly brown

Citrus Cooler*
1 small handful fresh lemon balm leaves
1 gal.  Orange juice
1 bottle (2 liter) citrus soda-Sprite, Seven-Up
Fresh Lemon Balm leaves.
Rub lemon balm leaves between hands to release the flavor.  Put in bottom of punch bowl, pour in orange juice.  Let stand, covered, 1-2 hours.  Remove lemon balm; add citrus soda and ice.  Float fresh lemon balm leaves on top.  Makes about 1 ½ gallons
*This recipe is from Maggie Keeler, herbalist and friend.

lemon scented rose geranium

Luscious Lemon Potpourri
 Dried peel of one lemon
2 cups dried lemon verbena leaves
1 cup dried Lemon Scented Geranium
1 cup dried chamomile flowers
¼ cup cinnamon bark crushed
1 cup dried calendula petals
1 tsp. orris root powder
2-3 drops lemon verbena essential oil (optional)
Peel lemon and dry peel for about 2 weeks.  Mix all the ingredients together.  Seal in a tin and put in a warm place for about 2-3 weeks.  The essential oil, if used,  should by added to the orris root powder, which “fixes” the scent.  Additional oil may be added if scent fades.

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