Herb of the Month – July: Lemon Verbena

Herb of the Month – July: Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena Aloysia citriodora

In 1819, the herb Lemon Verbena Aloysia citriodora was named in the honor of the Princess or Parma, Maria Luisa. Lemon verbena is also known as beebrush and vervain.  It is native to South America and is well-loved for its outstanding lemon fragrance. The Spanish introduced it into Europe during the 17th century where it was cultivated for its oil.  From Europe, it moved on to the African continent. Today it is cultivated for its oil in France, Morocco, and Algeria.  During the Victorian era, ladies used it in their bodices, hankies, and nosegays.  Lemon Verbena has many uses because of its lemon flavor; some of those are teas, baked goods, potpourri, a flavoring for butter, puddings, sorbet and ice cream.  This lovely plant is welcomed in many gardens.

Lemon Verbena Recipes

Lemon Verbena Sugar – Many of us have added Lavender flowers to sugar and enjoyed that flavored sugar, well the same can be done with lemon verbena leaves. Layer leaves and sugar in a well-sealed jar or container for up to three weeks. You can leave the leaves in the container as you use the sugar in some of your favorite culinary creations!

Lemon Verbena Tea – You may dry the leaves for later use in the season or you may use fresh leaves to make a hot or iced tea. The leaves can be combined very well with other favorite herbs such as mint or lavender. Steep your leaves in hot water for several minutes and serve hot or over ice. 

Lemon Verbena Cookies – Add 2 T of finely crushed and dried leaves to your favorite sugar cookie recipe.  Experiment! Use finely chopped fresh leaves and see which taste suits you best. If you prefer making shortbread, be sure to try this wonderful herb as a flavor note.

Lemon Verbena Water – Fresh tender leaves can be added to your water container and stored in the refrigerator. A welcomed libation during our hot summers!

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