Lemon vervain adds a delicous lemony hint to a dish and any drink improves with a touch of lemon vervain.
As most of herbs, lemon vervain was first appreciated by its medicinal properties, as digestive aid, and tonic. Its uses are similar to those of mint, orange blossom or lemon balm. The leaves retain their aroma for very long periods and they are also used in perfumery.
How to recognize lemon vervain
Lemon vervain is the leaves and flowering tops of a deciduous shrub indigenous to the Pacific coast of South America, now cultivated in many gardens, particularly in Europe. The leaves have a pale green color, they grow in groups of three. The flowers are very small, pale lilac outside and white inside, blooming from mid to late summer and early fall.
The plant can reach 4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m). The leaves die in winter, but the roots are perennial. Leaves are best harvested at flowering time, when their content in oil is highest, but they can be gathered at any time.
How to use and store lemon vervain
Lemon vervain is not easy to find at the grocery store, but easy to grow in the garden or in pots. In the kitchen, only the fresh leaves are used.
Lemon vervain leaves can be used to prepare an infusion, similar to tea. The leaves are also used to flavor desserts and ice creams. They can be added to savory dishes, at the same time as lemon would. The two of them are often used together.
How to grow lemon vervain
The plant grows wild in its original countries. Otherwise, it is best propagated from softwood cuttings, gathering seeds is not recommended. It likes the sun. Keep it in a sunny place, watering regularly.
Cooking with lemon vervain
Lemon vervain has not been used very extensively in the kitchen, other than medicinal teas. Lemon vervain adds a delicous lemony hint to many dishes, and any drink can improve with a touch of lemon vervain.
Peach and lemon verbain cocktail
4 cups tea, peach flavored tea is best
4 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup vodka
1 lemon, only the juice
1 sprig lemon vervain
1 peach, peeled and diced
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Keep in the fridge for 2 hours, to cool it down and allow the flavors to infuse.
- Serve in cups, with ice cubes and garnished with the peach
A perfect cooling drink for the summer.It is said that lemon vervain will improve any drink. Adding lemon vervain to veal, turkey, or chicken blanquette gives the dish is an interesting lemony flavor. It is not a very common herb for cooking and there is plenty of room for exploration.