A year or more ago I visited a local open garden owned by an acquaintence and spent $1 on a potted lemon balm. She told me it is good as a mozzie repellant. That appealed. Of all my district we live in pretty much the only suburb with mozzies, being high up above the coast. I grew up with mozzies, the little wretches are relentless.
I took it home and planted it in my herb garden. It grew modestly and I pretty much ignored it. Last summer I picked a few leaves, rubbed it between my fingers and then on to my ankles. I was happy with the results as it seemed to keep away the mozzies. This summer has been cool and wet so no mozzie repellant was needed.
I love my herb garden. It rambles happily and needs no attention bar the occasional thinning out. The chives flower and then die back heading into winter but faithfully come back in spring. The Vietnamese mint is rampant, especially as I hardly ever pick it.
Today I planted some coriander in pots - it does better here in Autumn as it doesn't bolt to seed as quickly as it does in Summer. I also planted some extra parsley as the old stuff is bolting a little.
And I noticed that the lemon balm is taking over the oregano which has been dominant for a long time.
My Mum bought a little pot of lemon balm at the Brisbane farmers market we went to over Christmas and I did promise to let her know what else she could use it for.
So being a lazy long weekend I am doing some research.
Its scientific name is Melissa officinalis. Apart from insect repelling it was said, in the 1600s by John Evelyn to be good for "strengthening the memoey, and powerfully chasing away melancholy."
So how can it be used:
throw the fresh leaves in salads, sauces, herb vinegars and with fish.
It is reported to be good for indigestion especially it associated with stress or nervousness. It can be made into teas and added to potpourri.
I also learnt that is part of the mint family which rather explains why it is trying to take over my garden.
Lemon balm infusing in olive oil from Razorback Olive Grove for tonight.
Tonight we are eating farmers market asparagus with mashed home grown potatoes. I am going to try a lemon balm sauce over the top. Sounds great!
ok perhaps steamed potatoes and asparagus. I went to grub some potatoes and they are all tiny. As I said, a dismal summer. These rather sad looking kippler and otway red spuds will taste delicious as they are so fresh. LOL