Sunday, 25 May 2008

Weekend Herb Blogging - Lemon Balm Iced Tea

Several years ago I planted a little tiny seedling of lemon balm in a partly shady spot next to my bridal wreath spirea. I thought that it might be nice for garnishes and I had heard that the lemon scent deters mosquitoes. Now, left unchecked, my lemon balm grows to the size of a small shrub each year and I scramble to cut it back every few days before it eclipses the plants around it. Last year, while I was unawares, it totally enveloped a small cottoneaster and killed it. Gardening, as I have learned, is no place for the faint hearted.
This year I have vowed to keep on top of this vigorous herb and use it as generously as I can.

For my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging, a fabulous tradition of honouring herbs by Kalyn of Kayln's Kitchen, I have made Lemon Balm Iced Tea. This week's round-up is hosted by Cate from Sweetnicks, check out her site for more fabulous recipes starring herbs.

I feel that I must make an aside here. I have heard that iced tea is serious business in the southern United States and much debate is made on how to do it best. Here in Canada, I am sheltered from formal iced tea argument and have just brewed it in a manner that made sense to me at the time.

Lemon Balm Iced Tea

In a medium sized pot, add 7 cups cold water.
From your garden, cut down 2 giant fistfulls of lemon balm and rinse well, discarding tougher stems.
Add to the pot of water.
Add 1/2 cup of sugar or to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Remove from heat and add 2 black tea bags.
Let steep on the counter for another 10 minutes and strain.
Allow to cool and refrigerate until cold.
Serve over lots of ice with lemon and a fresh sprig of lemon balm.
Any special dietary needs can be met by switching the sugar for your favourite sweetener.
For this week's round-up click here.