How to Use Lemon Balm from Your Garden? Benefits and Recipes

Last Updated on April 3, 2024 by Real Men Sow

I really wish everything grew as fast as my lemon balm plant. I dug this speedy herb up and it had rooted itself a few yards from another one. The plant fitted into the palm of my hand, and I had no idea what I was to use lemon balm for, but I was on a herb mission, and it was free.

Until recently, I’d never used my lemon balm plant. All I’d done so far was gaily rejoice in the lovely citrus smell after a rain shower. However, things have to change. I can’t have a plant taking up valuable space without any return. The time has come for the lemon balm to start pulling its weight. So here are the top things I use my lemon balm for:

Lemon Blam is Great in Salads and Tea

Try Lemon Balm in Your Salads

I began experimenting. I’ve been trying the leaves in salads to bulk up my early harvests and mixed in with couscous and other garden foodstuffs for lunch. Both these experiments were good, and I enjoyed the kick that the leaves provided.

Lemon Balm Tea

I tried lemon balm tea too, by steeping a large handful of leaves in hot water for 5 minutes before draining the water into a mug. I’m much more of a strong, milky builder’s tea kind of guy, so probably not the best judge of a fresh herbal equivalent, but the lemon balm drink was all rather soothing, especially before bedtime. I added a dollop of honey as well because I’ve got a sweet tooth.

Upping the ante, I tried spearmint leaves in with the lemon balm next time I made a cuppa, and this was a very tasty combination. Ailsa, who is much more refined than me and therefore a regular herbal tea drinker, deemed the drink ‘delicious’. I left the honey out too, so much better for the teeth (I need all the help in that department).

Sneak Some Lemon Balm in Your Baking Recipes

The ever-excellent Self-Sufficientish have a tasty looking lemon balm cake on their website, which is going to be one to try for Allotment Cakes for the Weekend in the not too distant future. If Ailsa picked up on the hefty hints I was dropping and buys me an ice cream maker for my birthday, I’ll be trying some of the lemon balm recipes that can be found on the web too. This honey, lemon balm, and rum ice cream sounds insanely good.

Lemon Balm in The Garden

It is Super Easy to Grow

From my experience, growing lemon balm couldn’t be easier. It is happy everywhere except very poor soil and I rarely water the plant. As a member of the mint family, lemon balm will root elsewhere, so dig up these roots if you don’t want the plant to spread.

Keep Cats Away 

I’ve done this a couple of times and planted out elsewhere as Bob reckons lemon balm is useful for keeping cats away as they don’t like the citrus smell. I have a problem with the local cats using the same spot in my garden, so I’ll report back as to whether the lemon balm makes any difference.

Let’s Hear from You…

Does anyone else have any interesting uses for a lemon balm? I’d be keen to hear them, and you’d be helping the lemon balm extend its stay of execution – especially if I go off my new love of a pre-bedtime herbal tea…

Since the last time I checked, my lemon balm has gone nuts. The plant is huge, towering over every other herb in the patch. There are two reasons for this: one, it’s growing at a faster rate than even my feed-every-hour monster of a baby boy, and two, all the other herbs get used a lot more. Luckily this plant is growing fast and has a lot more benefits than I thought!

Would you give your lemon plant a try? 

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.

11 thoughts on “How to Use Lemon Balm from Your Garden? Benefits and Recipes”

  1. This is a question I’ve asked several times (but not out loud). This plant showed up as a volunteer way in the back of my garden, and there are now 3 or 4 plants back there, the original quite large and the rest getting there too.

    Isn’t a wonderful, lemony scent enough reason to keep some in the garden? Surely you can spare a square foot to a non-edible, right?

    Oh, and if you do find a good use for this plant, please let me know!

  2. Yes, I’ll keep it for sure, even if I move the plant in with the ornamentals. You’re right about the scent, and it is a very attractive, evergreen perennial, so definitely a winner.

    I’m rather addicted to herb plants at the moment as it goes, so the lemon balm will stay. 🙂

  3. Thank for the suggestions on what to do with lemon balm. I have it all over the garden as it self-seeds prolifically. The smell is lovely, but so far I haven’t used it much, tried it in iced tea several times but found the taste disappeared. Shall give your tea a try. And I’ll be very happy if it really does work as a cat deterrent.

  4. I’ve a feeling I’ve seen a recipe for a lemon balm pesto somewhere (worth a google perhaps?) I’ve also added it to butter to make a lemon balm butter for fish or to homemade mayo with other herbs like dill/chives…

  5. I lurve the smell of lemon balm – just running my fingers through it is enough reason to keep it! Lemon balm tea (no honey) is very refreshing on a hot summer’s day – whatever they are. Otherwise, I just chop a few leaves in with a green salad or with pasta. Just brightens the whole thing up. Chop the leaves finely though as they feel a bit bristly!!

  6. Thanks Carole, I’m going to give pasta a go. I noticed that about the bristly feel, especially on the bigger leaves. quite a funny feeling!

  7. Jono you have inadvertantly reminded me what is missing from my herb patch… Lemon balm is now on the shopping list!. It will also put pay to those pesky cats hopefylly too.

    With regards to uses….it’s supposed to be good if used when making homemade ice-cream/sorbet.. I think Jamie Oliver used it on one of his quick meal programs.

  8. Brill, thanks Mark – I have that cookbook so will have a look through. My wife did indeed come up trumps with the ice cream maker for my birthday, so I’m going to be making some ice cream soon.

  9. After the same predicament with my lemon balm bush I was told about making lemon balm schnapps which actually turned out really well and is a regular on camp 🙂

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