Herb of the Week
I also noticed in looking back that I like to create sorbet with Lemon verbena, there were several posts in it, but this was the easiest.
But since Lemon Verbena is one of the herbs we will be sharing at the Men's Garden Club plant sale (May 8 & 9, 2015,) I thought I would share a bit more about this wonderful plant.
This time of year I give my Lemon Verbena a hard pruning. You want to do that when it starts to sprout leaves after winter dormancy. Lemon verbena grows from the woody stems rather than the soft growth, so if you clip the wood this will stimulate the herb to sprout. Notice that this plant is small. I bought it at the end of last year and never repotted it. I have others that are larger, but look about the same (sticks with little leaves.)
In its native habitat of Central and South America it grows 7 to 10 feet tall, but here in the northern states we have to settle for pots. This year I am thinking of planting a pot in the vegetable plot to give it more sun and see if it grows larger than it does in a season on the patio. Lemon Verbena is deciduous, so the leaves drop in the fall when the days shorten, this usually happens about a week after I bring it indoors for winter. But water it and place it in a sunny window in January and it will sprout again! Lemon Verbena does not need much to grow except sun and good drainage. It likes to dry out between waterings, but no so much that you stress the plant (you know you did that when the edges of the leaves turn brown or yellow.)
The reason I fell in love with this plant is the distinctive lemon scent. It is kin to an actual lemon and the dried leaves hold that scent for years after harvesting. As part of the Plant Sale I will be sharing my herb recipes and growing tips. Lemon Verbena is a great herb to make bath items as well as sweets, scones and chicken dishes. It is also great in potpourri.
Here are a few recipes to get you thinking about growing this unusual but wonderful lemon scented and favored herb in your garden or on your patio this season!
4 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries (not in syrup)
1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
1 small handful young, tender lemon verbena leaves
2 10-oz. pkgs. frozen broccoli spears
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
6 large slices cooked chicken or 2 cups cubed chicken
salt & pepper
1 cup cooked rice
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup dairy sour cream
Cook broccoli according to directions; drain. Arrange in 11-1/2" by 7-1/2" by 1-1/2" baking dish. Sprinkle with half the cheese. Top with chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon on cooked rice. Prepare white sauce: Melt butter, blend in flour, add milk all at once. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice; gently fold in sour cream, and pour over chicken. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.