Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lemon Scented Herbs

There are 3 herbs whose leaves give off a lovely lemon fragrance. In addition to their fragrance, their leaves have a lemon flavor and they are used to season foods and drinks. Their fragrant leaves are also used in fragrance crafts like soap, bath products, and potpourris.

Lemon Grass

Lemon Grass is a perennial herb that grows in clumps with long, thin, grass-like leaves. It usually grows 3 to 4 feet tall although it can grow to 6 feet tall. It can be planted in full sun or partial shade. When the leaves are broken, they release a lemon-flavored oil. Lemon Grass is mostly used as a seasoning in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. It also has antiseptic properties and is used in cosmetics. When dried, the fragrant leaves can be added to citrus potpourri blends.

Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena is a deciduous woody shrub with pretty elongated leaves and tiny pale flowers. It grows to 4 feet tall although it has been known to grow up to 10 feet tall. It grows best when planted in full sun. Since it is a decidous herb it drops all of it's leaves during the winter. It does not survive well in cold weather and therefore should be potted and brought indoors during the winter. Lemon Verbena leaves have a strong lemony flavor and can be used instead of lemon juice to flavor both hot and iced teas. The leaves themselves can be made into a flavorful tea that is soothing and calming to the digestive tract. The flavorful leaves are used to season pastires, jams & jellies, chicken, and fish. Lemon Verbena is a soothing gentle herb and it's fragrant leaves are used as additives to soap and bath products.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is a perennial herb with oval shaped leaves that have a delicate lemon scent and taste. In late summer, it grows tiny white flowers that attract bees. Due to the fact that bees are attracted to the fragrant flowers, the scientific name for Lemon Balm is Melissa Officinalis, the Greek word for bee is Melissa. Lemon Balm grows about 2 feet, and does best when planted in full sun, although it can grow in partial shade. It's lemon flavored leaves are used to season chicken, fish, vegetables, pastries, custards, and ice cream. The fresh leaves are used to add a lemony flavor so cool summer drinks like iced tea, punch, and lemonade. The large oval shaped leaves look very attractive in a glass with a cool summer drink. The fragrant dried leaves can be added to citrus scented potpourri blends.

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