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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.
Lemon Verbena is available year-round, with peak season in the summer.
Lemon Verbena is a perennial shrub with highly aromatic herbal leaves. It goes by a multitude of botanical names including, Aloysia citriodora, Aloysia triphylla, Lippia citriodora, Verbena citriodora and Verbena triphylla. The most notable is of the genus Aloysia, said to be derived from the Spanish princess, Louisa of Parma, and the inspiration of its common name, Herb Louisa.
Lemon Verbena is rich in essential oils commonly used in herbal remedies for digestive ailments, fever and even depression.
Lemon Verbena is an incredibly versatile herb, 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.
In France, Lemon Verbena is responsible for making their beloved tea known as "verveine". Lemon Verbena oil was initially used by the Victorians in their potpourri, perfume and cosmetics for before the much cheaper, lemongrass oil replaced it.
Lemon Verbena is native to Argentina and Chile. It was brought to Europe in the 17th Century by Spanish explorers, and later naturalized in temperate climates throughout the world. The plants thrive in hot climates with full sun so as to develop to most oil-rich leaves. Plants in only partial sun become spindly and develop meager, thin foliage with minimal oil content. The oil glands of the Lemon Verbena leaf are on the underside of the leaf and are used to cool the plant during hot summers.
Recipes that include Lemon Verbena. One is easiest, three is harder.
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