The lemon verbena or Aloysia citrodora is native to South America. Also known as lemon beebrush. Verbena leaves are about 8 cm long, glossy, pointed and slightly rough to the touch. This perennial shrub has a strong lemon scent, especially when the flowers and leaves are touched.
The plant is only half hardy in the UK it may survive in an unheated green house or if grown in a pot and moved somewhere frost free.
Lemon verbena leaves are used to add lemon flavor to vegetable marinades, fish and poultry dishes, salad dressings, puddings, jams, Greek yogurt, and beverages. The plant is also used to make lemon verbena tea wherein the leaves are dried and steeped.
Here are some ideas for Lemon Verbena
- Lemon Verbena ice-cubes - the simplest use get some leaves chop add to an ice cube tray freeze and pop in your summer drinks - deliciously refreshing!
- Add to a salad -Thinly chop the leaves and put Lemon Verbena in a salad or with vegetables.
- Lemon Verbena tea – bruise or cut up a handful of leaves place in a cup and fill up with hot water, steep for 2-3 minutes.
- Lemon Verbena infused vinegar by chopping or bruising the leaves and covering them with a simple white wine vinegar for 30 days, add to your salad dressing for a lemony kick.
- Try lemon verbena infused olive oil using the method above.
- Make lemon verbena flavoured sugar by mixing bruised leaves into a bowl of sugar. Leave it overnight. The sugar will take on the lemon oil properties.
- Make a Lemon Verbena Syrup take 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup fresh lemon verbena leaves, 1/2 cup water - Chop and bruise the lemon verbena. Put sugar in a small saucepan with 1/2 cup water and stir to dissolve as it comes to a simmer over low heat. Let it simmer for just a couple minutes. Stir in the lemon verbena and take off the heat. Let steep for fifteen minutes, then put in the refrigerator to cool completely.