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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Fever

Since we brought our new dog home, I've had no choice but to spend more time outside. YAY! She is a German Pointer and is very laid back, but she really needs a lot of exercise so she doesn't get bored. I haven't been able to cook as much as I'd like, but I've started taking the camera out on our walks. I've been stopping to take a good look around the yard and the fields, noticing what's in bloom and what's budding out... Yesterday I took pictures of the Lemon Balm growing around my fish pond...

If you have your own lemon balm, here are a few recipes for it's use...

Lemon Balm Butter

6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons lemon balm, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped

Combine the butter, lemon balm and chives. Using a piece of waxed paper to help mould, shape into a log. Cover and refrigerate overnight to blend the flavours. May be frozen. Use on seafood or vegetables.

Lemon Balm Spread 

Combine 1/4 cup finely chopped lemon balm leaves, 1 teaspoon lemon rind and   8 oz cream cheese. Use on crackers or to stuff celery sticks.

Lemon Balm Lemonade 

1/2 cup sugar 
3 lemons
1 1/4 cups boiling water
2 large sprigs lemon balm
Peel the rind thinly from the lemons and add, with the sugar, to the boiling water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and then add the chopped leaves of lemon balm. Cool, then add the freshly squeezed juice of the lemons. Stir well, strain and chill. Dilute to taste with chilled seltzer or soda water and garnish with the lemon curls. Serves 2.

Honey and Lemon Balm Biscuits 

1 cup butter
1 cup honey
3 eggs
3 cups self-raising flour
1 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 springs lemon balm, chopped

Cream the butter with the honey, add eggs, beat well. Add remaining ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes at 425 degrees.

Other interesting uses and facts:

It helps relieve anxiety attacks, palpitations with nausea, mild insomnia and phobias, and when used as a sedative it is good for children. It combines well with peppermint to stimulate circulation, and can also be used for colds and flu and is most effective in the early stages of a cold. The tea is used to treat headaches and tiredness, mild depression, laryngitis, colic and dizziness, and is reputed to enhance the memory. It calms a nervous stomach, controls high blood pressure, relieves menstrual cramps, promotes menstruation and treats insomnia. Fresh juice is used to treat goitre and Grave's Disease. It is especially suitable for children, and makes a good substitute for chamomile. A crushed fresh leaf applied to insect bites eases discomfort. As a poultice it treats sores and tumours. In ointment, it is good for cold sores.

Lemon Balm attracts bees to the garden. Use in Potpourri. An infusion of leaves makes a refreshing skin toner and can be used in rinse water for clothes. A stronger infusion makes a good rinse for oily hair. Use as a facial steam for dry skin and to treat acne. Use in furniture polishes, or just rub a handful of crushed leaves on wooden furniture for a beautiful shine. Rub on a fresh leaf to soothe insect bites. Use in sleep pillows, and add to soaps. Used to bathe discharging eyes in puppies. Used to bring down retained afterbirth in farm animals. It has also been used for farm animals for eye ailments, nervous and brain disorders, heart abnormalities, uterine disorders, to increase milk yield and to prevent miscarriage.

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