We hope you are enjoying full access to the Culinary Herb Garden. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, comments and suggestions at saralarry@verizon.net. This week we would like to feature our 2 “lemon” herbs in the Culinary Garden:

Lemon balm is a new addition to the Culinary Garden, and a mighty one at that. Named for its lemony aroma/flavor and its ability to heal and soothe (which is the definition of balm), this unique mint family member is a wonderful go-to herb selection.

This plant is simply amazing and good for so many things: stress and sleep, cognitive health, thyroid and heart health, a modulator for inflammation, immune support, pain and digestion. It is also good for bug bites, completely safe for children and quite soothing (along with chamomile). Try it for making tea – on its own or in combination with any other plants you choose. It makes a lovely herbal-infused vinegar or honey and even lemon balm popsicles. Don’t forget to use it in your foods, as you would other more common culinary herbs.

Lemon Verbena is a culinary favorite and the aroma is divine. It is also a plant with impressive potential health benefits. Some research suggests that it may help reduce oxidative stress, protect against muscle damage, improve sleep quality and have anti-obesity effects. In addition to using verbena for tea, try it with other beverages or make a simple syrup and mix it with different kinds of fruits and desserts. Experiment by adding it to a variety of foods, such as chicken, meat and fish, as well as mixing it into a pesto, adding it to marinades or making an herbal vinegar. Use it as you would any culinary herb. Try is as a scent for DIY cleaners as well!