A spring herb we love, who is growing vibrant and aromatic in the Lughnasa garden and who represents the promise of spring, is lemon balm or Melissa officinalis.
Lemon balm nourishes the nervous system, specifically uplifting to the spirit and emotions. If there are any lingering coughs or viruses from the winter, lemon balm offers a burst of anti-viral protection. Crush a bit of leaf between your fingers and inhale its crisp, fresh scent amplifying the sun and the warming breeze. She is delicious added fresh to your spring salad, steeped into a tea (if it is a clear day, infuse her in the sun!) or make a lemon balm cordial. She is the taste of spring!
Lemon Balm Cordial
1 cup of fresh lemon balm leaves
1 cup of castor sugar
1 cup of water
Combine water and sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a low boil for about 15 minutes. The consistency will become thicker and syrupy. Reduce heat, add the lemon balm leaves and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and steep for an hour or more. Strain out the herb, bottle and store in the fridge. Use as a dessert topping, add to sparkling water or prosecco, use instead of lemon and honey in salad dressings. Delicious in a bit of whiskey! A wonderful gift for Mother’s Day and Easter.