Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Part 1 Herbal Recipes: Minty Lemon Verbena Tea

A couple of weeks ago you may have noticed I posted a picture of a plant on Facebook. Something was growing in my patio planter that I was sure wasn't just a weed yet I had no idea what it was. After asking friends online and in person it was finally identified as lemon verbena.
I planted a lot of herbs last year but I don't remember planting this one. I asked around on uses for it and a friend told me her grandmother made mint lemon verbena tea. Well of course I love healing tea and green tea so making a herbal tea sounds like fun to me. To make it even easier I've already got mint growing in my garden.

This year I want to explore uses for the various herbs I'm growing so I'm starting a series of posts about this. This is part one. I don't know what the next herb will be and when the next installment will come...

Lemon Verbena tea is a traditional medicinal or culinary beverage made from the fresh or dried leaves of the lemon verbena plant. I discovered this recipe on This tea is a popular French tisane and is useful to aid in digestion.

Minty Lemon Verbena Tea

3-4 fresh mint leaves (not the stems, they're bitter), rinsed

10-12 fresh lemon verbena leaves, rinsed
2 cups of water

Bring a pot of fresh water almost, but not quite to a boil. Put the mint and verbena leaves in a teapot. Pour the hot water over the leaves. Allow to infuse for 5 minutes and strain into tea cups, serve warm, with honey or sugar to taste. To serve chilled, remove the mint and lemon verbena sprigs and refrigerate before serving with ice cubes and fresh sprigs of lemon verbena and mint. Makes 2 cups.

I found this to be very refreshing and delicious. I added a bit of sugar and stevia to sweeten it up. I tried it hot first and then put the rest in the refrigerator and drank it later over ice. I'll be making this recipe again.

While researching drink recipes I found a couple of other options for using lemon verbena in drinks: 

Honey Lemon Verbena Green Tea – Combine four cups water, a quarter cup honey, three stalks fresh lemon verbena and four green tea bags in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add one tablespoon brandy, transfer to heat-proof mugs and drink immediately. Makes four cups, soothing to sore throat.

Cooling Lemon Verbena Tea – Combine one teaspoon dried lemon verbena leaves and one teaspoon dried sage leaves in a heat-proof mug. Cover with one cup boiling water, steep for five to 10 minutes, and then strain the herbs from the liquid. Sweeten with honey if desired and drink immediately. Makes one cup, good for reducing fevers.

What garden herbs are you experimenting with this season?

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