Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lemon Balm Iced Tea

Lemon balm is exploding in my garden right now as I am sure it is in many people's gardens. As it is in the mint family, it can be quite invasive if it isn't corralled into a corner somewhere.

And since I joined the league of the invasive species eaters, I know that eating and using these things is better than throwing them directly into the compost pile.

In this case, the lemony balm can be boiled as a tea and served over ice- a lovely beverage for hot summer days.

Lemon balm has many medicinal uses and is best known for its soothing, stress-reducing properties. As with any herb, it is good to get some background info on it before you go crazy for it, like I do!

Lemon Balm Iced Tea
This is best served in a tall glass filled with ice! It is a bit syrupy if you drink it as is, but is perfect when it is slightly diluted by melted ice. If you don't have lemon balm, try this with any other mint you may have around. I don't mind little bits of mint floating in my tea, if you do, strain using cheesecloth or a very fine mesh strainer.

4 cups loosely-packed lemon mint balm leaves, rinsed
8 cups water
1 cup cane sugar, or to taste

1. In a large saucepan, bring lemon balm and water to a boil. Turn off heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove leaves with strainer or spider (strainer spoon). For absolutely clear tea, strain through cheesecloth.
2. Stir in sugar. Let cool. Serve over ice.