Sunday, June 28, 2009

What to Do With My Herbs: Bee Balm

I love the idea of having herbs growing in my garden, but with my obvious lack of culinary knowledge I find myself at odds when it comes to actually USING the herbs I have.

So, this ho-hum Sunday afternoon, whilst the husband is off at work being the marvelous, motivating manager he is, I've devoted myself to researching what exactly I can do with my herbs. Exciting, huh? ;)

First lets start with Bee Balm, one of my favoritest (thanks, Sarah, for classifying this as a perfectly fine verb! ;)) herbs. I love the look of the plant - the leaves are gorgeous, the flowers are quirky and colorful and the scent!! Oh I love running my hands over the stems and then cupping them over my nose - such a lovely smell! Not mention that the hummingbirds and bees swoon with this plant!

Summer Punch

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup Bee balm leaves
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves (any variety)
  • 1 47 ounce can chilled pineapple juice
  • 3 liters of ginger ale

In a sauce pan dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice, over low heat. Add the bee balm and raspberries. Bring to a simmer, stir to break up the raspberries. When the sugar is dissolved, strain leaves and berries out of the liquid. Add cranberry juice and mint, stirring well. Chill up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, pour into a punch bowl and add pineapple juice, ice and ginger ale.

Bee Balm Iced Tea

  • 1/2 cup Bee Balm flowers and leaves
  • 8 cups boiling water

Pour the boiling water over the Bee Balm. Cover and steep until cool, about an hour. Strain and discard flowers. You can sweeten with sugar if desired. Chill until ready to use and serve over ice.

Summer Tea Blend

  • 3 tbsp. dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 tbsp. dried bee balm leaves
  • 2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. apple or pineapple mint leaves

Mix all the dried herbs together in a jar. Use 2 tsp. of the mix per cup of tea. Steep for 5 minutes and strain. Sweeten with honey or sugar if you wish.


Uses for Bee Balm - from Creative Homemaking

This is a wonderful tea herb. To make a cup of tea, simply place tablespoon of fresh or one teaspoon of dried Bee Balm leaves and/or flowers in a tea strainer or tea spoon and pour one cup of boiling water over it. Allow it to steep for ten minutes and bring the tea out. Sweeten if you wish and enjoy.

Chop the leaves and flowers and add to fruit salads for extra flavor. Garnish any type of salad with the leaves and flowers.

Here's more helpful links!

Bee Balm Recipes/Ideas from Gardens Ablaze


Jenny wren's nest said...

great ideas, bee balm is one herb I dont have. My favorite herb for tea is chocolate mint, its flavor is strong mint.

Nadine said...

What fun! I hadn't really thought of bee balm as an herb before.

Sarah Pead said...

Those recipes sound scrumptious. :)