Last week, I shared a little bit about our mint varieties. Now I’d like to tell you about another of my favorite herbs: lemon balm! It is a member of the family Lamiaceae, as are mint, basil, and many other aromatic herbs. Its flowers attract a plethora of butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. It has a wonderful bright but soft lemony scent and flavor that shines in many of the same ways mint does, in both sweet and savory dishes. You can really use lemon balm anywhere you might use lemon; its flavor is just more subtle, herbaceous, and delicate.
We love infusing water with lemon balm—as with mint, just crunch up a bunch of it in a pitcher of water and keep it in the fridge, replenishing the water as needed. You can also dry it and use it to make tea. It is delicious in a salad dressing, or just chopped and added to a salad. Summer squash sautéed with minced fresh lemon balm, chives, and maybe a little dill makes a fantastic quick side dish, or add some chickpeas for a complete lunch! And it is amazing with fruits or in sweets, like these addictive lemon balm cookies!