Herbal Teas

This morning in the veggie garden I finally snapped a photo of the beautiful purple blossoms on the bean trellis. Can’t wait for stunning purple beans! Actually, I can wait, since my hands have been way too full with harvesting raspberries, cherries, peas, kale, broccoli, zucchini, and lettuces!

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Lemon balm, Melissa officinalis, is one vigorous herb, and it seems to have intentions of  taking over our herb garden. It’s pictured in the middle of this photo.

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It’s a bit ironic that this vigorous grower is known as a calming herb, used for centuries to reduce anxiety and stress. This member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) was here at Coppertop when we moved in, and it features the squared 4-sided stems.

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I try to stay on top of the spread of this herb, puling volunteers and containing it to just one large clump in the center of the herb garden. I don’t allow it to go to flower, since what follows flowers are seeds which spread too readily. Its flowers are magnets for bees, which is how the lemon balm got its Latin name of Melissa.

I just severely cut it back for the second time this year. This time, I decided to make tea from the fragrant leaves. I opted to put the summer sun to good use and dried the lemon balm in bunches out on the deck for two days. Concurrently I dried some stevia.

I’m no herbalist, and the internet is full of opposing messages, so it would be a good thing for anyone wanting to consume or use large amounts of lemon balm to check for counter indications with a trusted doctor. Sipping a cup of tea is a small, harmless journey with this herb.

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Mint also grows exceedingly well in the herb garden and along the edge of the rockery nearby. It’s essential to keep this aggressive herb contained by pulling up out-of-bounds areas quickly and mercilessly. I’ve been drying clumps of mint for soothing tea as well. We have peppermint and chocolate mint, both of which smell wonderful.

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I’ve allowed the cilantro to go to flower. It seems like I can’t grow enough cilantro in this climate for all the ways I use it in the kitchen, so I’ve resigned myself to buying it at the grocery store for the low summer price of two bunches for $1.00. I suppose I could explore the idea of growing masses of it in the greenhouse next summer. Cilantro’s white flowers are followed by the coriander seeds I’ll harvest soon. We enjoy crushed  coriander on roasted veggies and in many recipes.

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3 thoughts on “Herbal Teas

  1. I promptly killed my cilantro. However, mint given to me by a girlfriend is growing like gangbusters in a pot on the back patio. I’m going to “test” it in mojitos this weekend. 🙂

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