Melissa is a plant with antioxidant properties that relieves fatigue, relieves depression and has a positive effect on the immune system. Lemon balm has a delicate taste with a lemon flavor, and for the preparation you need to know how to dry lemon balm so that it retains its healing properties and aroma after drying in the winter. In the article I tell you how to dry a plant properly at home, how to store substances when winter has come.
When to collect lemon balm
The flowering period for lemon balm is all summer, from May to early autumn, but you must collect lemon balm for drying before it blooms, May-June. Then lemon balm gives its first leaves, which are a valuable product for making aromatic tea in winter.
How to assemble a plant for drying:
- You need to cut lemon balm during the first half of the day, but not too early so that it can dry out completely from dew or rain, it is not recommended to collect lemon balm in cloudy, foggy weather.
- The leaves must be cut off with garden shears, with a knife – so that it is not damaged, but will release more and more new shoots, lemon balm is not a difficult plant. You need to cut it at a distance of about 10 cm from the root.
- Do not cut yellowed or damaged leaves.
- After cutting, it is absolutely necessary to fertilize the soil so that the plant will give a new crop in the near future.
But this does not mean that lemon balm can be used for drying once – it grows well and during the summer of its flowering can produce a crop repeatedly, only it will be necessary to cut off not only the leaves but also the stems.
This does not affect the taste of the finished drink, you need additional space for drying and the additive itself will not have an aesthetic appearance – it is all shades.
How to prepare for drying at home
To dry lemon balm, you can not resort to washing, but dry it as it is for hand sorting without washing, as drying takes too long and some shoots may rot.
However, if there are concerns about the purity of the fragrant herb, you can proceed as follows: rinse it with a hose or watering can before harvesting and after complete drying you can start harvesting, otherwise wet leaves during harvest and the drying process may rot and mold.
How to dry
Now you can go straight to the process of drying aromatic herbs. There are several methods, but the primary and maximum preservative essential oils and useful substances are the method of natural drying, if it is a private house, then the fresh air, an apartment on the windowsill, emergency drying is required – then an oven, microwave or electric dryer this task.
It is desirable to tie the finished lemon balm slices with a cloth thread in a bunch, the bunch should consist of 8-9 stems and hang with the leaves down, it is most convenient to do this with wooden clothespins.
Comfortable air temperature for drying fragrant herbs: 25-30 degrees, without direct sunlight, a dry, shady place is most suitable.
On the windowsill
The variant of drying aromatic herbs assumes that the window sill will “allow” to place the grass for high-quality drying, if not, pallets are placed on the window sill (they can be made of plastic) and the leaves are laid out so that no layer is obtained, but each leaf is dried separate.
The room for drying lemon balm or mint should not be sunny and well ventilated.
Lemongrass must be “checked” all the time and the leaves must be turned so that they do not get darker and do not rot. When drying in bundles, you must also first cut off the darkened leaves so that their appearance does not lead to the whole bundle getting darker.
In the microwave
Lemon balm is laid out in a thin layer on a cotton cloth and covered with the same cloth, placed on a plate. The plate is sent to the microwave, the standard mode is set for 2 minutes.
Finished lemon balm reaches its drying day “apogee”:
- On the plus side, it is not necessary to keep track of every leaf; the main drying has already taken place.
- Minus – useful substances evaporate during emergency drying of the grass.
In the oven
In the oven, you can dry lemon balm by placing the leaves on a baking sheet and placing them in the oven at 40 degrees for two hours, with the oven door open.
Unfortunately, this method does not save much vitamins, but it is universal to save time and space.
In an electric dryer
The fragrant herb is placed on the tray on the electric dryer so that air can circulate freely in it. The temperature is set at 45 degrees and the time is 2 hours, lemon balm is ready to use!
How to distinguish quality dried lemon balm
To find out if the drying of the aromatic herb was successful, you must pay attention to:
- Lemon balsam candles lit a little, but did not “give off” their green color during the drying process.
- The grass has become brittle and crumbles easily.
- A light and sour lemon scent appeared.
- The aftertaste remained spicy, lemon.
This means that lemon balm is dried according to all rules and is ready to be added to tea and other beverages.
How to store
Dry grass requires special storage so that it does not lose its properties and spicy aroma.
Lemon balm is stored in glass jars with a tight lid or a linen bag made of fabric: linen or cotton.
Additional storage conditions:
- Dry room.
- Lack of foreign odor.
- Lack of direct sunlight.
Melissa will enjoy her lemon-spicy taste in the tea ceremony and give benefits and vitamins to her owner in full, the most important thing is to properly prepare and dry it.
Do not forget that lemon balm can be added not only to water but also mixed with green or black tea. If you suddenly catch a cold in the winter, we recommend that you try lingonberries, chamomile or consider recipes for tea with honey or lemon. Be sure to read about healthy drinks with raspberries, apple and thyme when you are pregnant.