LEMON VERBENA!

Lemon Verbena plants can grow to be 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide. This was bought last year. It is deciduous so over the winter we’d thought it died. Good thing we didn’t uproot it! it is easily 4x as big as last year!

Now it may not be the most versatile of herbs.  In fact I guarantee it is not.  We easily use the chives and parsley most often, and who can argue against the wonderful flavor of fresh basil, but my favorite is hands-down the lemon verbena.

I hear that you should harvest leaves before the plant flowers for the best flavor. Harvest by plucking individual leaves, not by cutting branches, unless you are trying to prune.

We use the lemon verbena in tea along with some fresh mint leaves.  I am going to attempt to dry the leaves so I can enjoy this refreshing herbal tea all. year. long.  I Gathered several handfuls of leaves and pulled out the old de-humidifier we got from a friend who was cleaning out her late grandfather’s estate.

mmmmm smells like heaven….if heaven smelled lemoney-sweet

Place the Lemon Verbena leaves on the de-humidifier so air can circulate all around them. Our de-humidifier has several levels and a solid sheet for making fruit leathers so I placed this sheet on the bottom rack to catch any crumbs from the dried leaves.

Dry the leaves on the lowest setting. I let them sit overnight.

In the morning the leaves were perfectly dried.

Be sure to check the leaves and make sure they crumble easily. They can also be dried by laying them out on paper towels and then transferring them to drying racks, but I found the overnight a ton faster and less of a hassle.

And now I have a jar of dried lemon verbena! Viola!

Final thought: If you don’t have a lemon verbena plant buy one.  Ours was $4 from the local Home Depot.  If it dies you’re only out $4 and if it lives, oh the glory that will be wafted about your property will be priceless!

Of course while I was drying these I got an urge for some delicious lemon verbena mint tea.  So what is a girl to do?  Guess I’ll just brew up a pot.  Want a play-by-play of that too?  I know you do!  (short version: put leaves in pot, add hot water.)

Mint and Lemon Verbena leaves for a 3 cup pot of tea. Even Beanie loves the smell and is always asking if she can pick one just to have.