Lemon Verbena is a woody shrub that can reach heights as tall as 5 meters when left unpruned. It produces narrow lanceolate shaped leaves approximately 7-10 centimeters long. The rough-textured leaves are brilliant green and rich in essential oils. Leaves are strongest at the time of flowering. When agitated they release a robust lemony fragrance with hints of ginger and spice. The herb is slightly sour on the palate, but also possesses a sweet and fruity flavor that is more potent than other lemon-scented herbs
An incredibly versatile herb, it is appropriate for both sweet and savory dishes. The young leaves are sweet and tender and may be eaten raw in pestos, vinaigrettes and salads. The larger leaves should be left for cooked preparations, such as in marinades or infusing oils and syrups. Use Lemon Verbena to flavor jellies, jams, fruit glazes, crème brulee, ice cream, sodas and teas. Complimentary flavors include anise hyssop, basil, lemon grass, lavender, mint, thyme, ginger, apricots, berries, melon, nectarine, peaches, cream and honey. The leaves may be dried and kept in an airtight jar away from light. Fresh leaves should be wrapped in damp paper towels and refrigerated.
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We love fragrant lemon verbena for its versatility in the kitchen. With summer in full swing, there are countless recipes to invigorate your plate with this garden fresh herb! Try out Bon Appétit’s Frozen Yogurt with Poached Peaches for a light and creamy dessert.