Every year I plant herbs in large pots next to my garden of greens and wonderful vegetables. Each year I plant my regulars of parsley, basil, and cilantro as well as picking a new herb I’ve never tried. Last year my youngest daughter wanted chocolate mint and although it smelt delicious, I’m sad to say that we didn’t eat a lot of it…I’m not sure why…I think we just always forgot about it (poor little plant).
This year my same daughter picked out lemon balm (she wanted to make hot tea with lemon and honey and add it to fresh lemonade). I also planted nasturtium which is an herb that grows edible flowers. I thought it would be fun to brighten up my salads and dinner plates with pretty little flowers that could be eaten.
Well, I have to say, both plants will be in my regular list from now on. I LOVE them both tremendously! They are super easy to grow, very hardy, keep growing and growing and growing, and I can’t get enough of them in my salads, smoothies, teas, and thrown into a lot of foods that I make. I even pluck leaves off the lemon balm plant and chew on them when I’m playing with my dog in the yard 🙂 Ahhh, added bonus of nice fresh breath!
Lemon balm is a perennial herb from the mint family. The leaves, which have a mild lemon aroma, are used to make medicine and also used for cooking.
Lemon balm is used for digestive problems, including upset stomach, bloating, intestinal gas, vomiting, and colic; for pain, including menstrual cramps, headache and toothaches.
Many people believe lemon balm has calming effects so they take it for anxiety, sleep problems, and restlessness. Other uses are for high blood pressure, thyroid problems, memory problems, and insect bites.
My personal favorite thing to do with lemon balm is to put several leaves in a mug with some green tea, a little local honey and warm water. Then I drink it warm or add ice and drink it cold.
You can also add some chopped leaves to a fruit salad or add some to your favorite (healthy) muffin or scone recipe.
Nasturtium is a lot of fun to grow. Not only can you eat the leaves and stems of the plant but the beautiful flowers are edible. And like the lemon balm, it is very hardy and keeps growing and flowering the more you trim it and keep eating it.
In the world of edible flowers, nasturtiums are one of the tastiest and easiest to grow. Nasturtiums grow quickly from seed and, depending on the variety, can be grown as climbers on fences and trellises or as bushy plants in window boxes or containers. In frost-free areas of the South and West they grow so vigorously that many people consider them weeds. Yikes…crazy people…don’t kill ’em, eat ’em!
While most edible flowers have a subtle flavor, nasturtiums knock your socks off with their peppery taste. Nasturtiums are popular with chefs and home gardeners because their colorful flowers not only dress up a plate, they’re high in vitamins A, C (10 times as much as lettuce), and D. Woo hoo…love me some vitamins!
You can also use nasturtiums in stir-fries, cook them with pasta, or stuff the flowers.
So, my advice to you this Spring is to go out and plant some delicious herbs that not only spice up your favorite dish but can also help improve your heath and impress your friends and family with their beautiful appearance.
Choosing healthy living over dying 🙂