By Lisa W.B. Walker
Lemon balm is a perennial herb from the mint family. I picked some from the Friendship Herb Garden at Powisset Farm this past week. Rubbing the leaves between my fingers produced a lovely lemony smell."Lemon Balm is native to the Mediterranean region, and has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years."
"Lemon balm’s popularity continued throughout the centuries, and it was enjoyed as a tea to combat mental confusion and as an elixir thought to extend lifespan. So widespread was lemon balm’s reputation for promoting longevity and dispelling melancholy that by the 17th century, French Carmelite nuns were dispensing their Carmelite Water to a faithful following. The lemon-balm infused “miracle water” was thought to improve memory and vision and reduce rheumatic pain, fever, melancholy and congestion.""Introduced into Great Britain by the Romans, lemon balm is now found in both England and North America, brought by colonialists who had come to rely on it for teas and flavoring. American Shakers grew lemon balm as a relief from mild fevers. One of the herbs grown in Thomas Jefferson’s gardens, lemon balm was well established as an important culinary herb, one especially suited to syrups and beverages."Food and Pottery Connection~Food:Honey Lemon Balm Spritzer - Makes 48 ounces.Adapted from Bon Appetit August 2011.Ingredients
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 cup lemon balm, lightly packed
- lemon slices
- 2 cups cold sparkling water
- In a large pitcher, mix honey and warm water until honey combined.
- Add lemon juice, and 1 cup cold water. Mix well.
- Crush lemon balm and add to mixture. Using a muddle or wooden spoon handle, smash lemon balm in bottom of pitcher. Add lemon slices and refrigerate mixture until chilled
- Once chilled, add 2 cups of cold sparkling water. Stir.
- Pour through a strainer into individual tumblers over crushed ice.