While tarragon, lovage and lavender are major players in our huge herb garden (along with the ‘usual’ basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme), this summer we’ve cornered the local market on lemon verbena.

Lemon Verbena

Many years ago, we were introduced to the delicious pleasure of this herb during a visit to a friend’s farm.  The very first night of our visit, after roasting a farm raised chicken in the outdoor oven we baked local peaches drizzled with lavender honey for dessert. Then, tipsy from too much local wine, we went into the garden with razor sharp shears to harvest fragrant herbs for tea.

Spearmint, bee balm, marjoram -whatever we could clip in the dark night ended up in the teapot. The hands down stand out from that nightly harvest was lemon verbena. We were hooked.

There is no better herbal tea after a lovely dinner than fresh from the garden lemon verbena. No more delicious ice cream, pannacotta or crème brulee than one made with a lemon verbena infusion. Salads, baked goods, vodkas all sing from the subtle lemon buttery addition—it’s simply sublime.

Clipped and dried its essence lasts for an entire winter.

The one essential herb that every garden must have: lemon verbena.