Lemon Verbena

How to Grow and Cook

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Lemon verbena is a stunning herb, delicate pointed leaves with an intoxicating lemon aroma it deserves better recognition in the kitchen garden. A semi-evergreen shrub, native to Chile it was introduced into Europe by the Spanish in the eighteenth century where it was used as a sedative and as an aid to relieve nasal congestion.

Lemon Verbena

How to Grow

Growing lemon verbena is relatively easy, keeping it over winter less so. Verbena does not take kindly to cold weather and will not survive a harsh winter outside. In cool European and American climates it is best grown in pots where it can be left in a warm and sheltered place throughout the summer before being brought indoors before the first frosts arrive. Verbena thrives in a good six hours of sunshine a day and a night temperature of no less than ten degrees Centigrade or fifty degrees Fahrenheit. By late February or early March pot grown plants will need cutting back to as much as six inches from the base to promote new growth.

How to Cook

Fresh and or dried lemon verbena can be used to flavour a number of dessert preparations from jellies to cakes and sorbets. I have used it in moderation with fish dishes and it makes a wonderful ice cream. Aside from culinary uses it makes an excellent pot pourris.

Content and picture Miles Collins