Harvesting, Storing and Drying Lemon Balm
The plant looks best when cut back periodically, so plan to use the fresh, flavorful leaves to brew tea, flavor fruit or green salads and season fish. The fragrant stems can be included in bouquets of summer flowers.
Lemon Balm can lose its flavor when cooking, so add it near the end of the cooking process.
Harvest a few leaves by pinching off a small piece of stem or by just pinching off a few leaves. A full harvest means cutting the stems 2 inches above the soil, above the first set of leaves. Don’t worry – the plant will grow back fast enough for another harvest. Be careful not to bruise the leaves – they will lose fragrance and dry poorly.
Fresh lemon balm is best used fresh picked, but it is possible to store leaves for a few days in the refrigerator.
Chop leaves and combine with fresh water in an ice cube tray and store in the freezer.
See How to Dry Herbs for instructions.
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