Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 09:01 pm
A lovingly tended melisee yields up to four harvests per season. If you can’t eat these lush quantities of aromatic leaves in one go, you should preserve them. How the plan succeeds quite simply by drying, you will learn here.
This preparatory work is what matters
Regardless of the preferred drying method, the melisee should be properly prepared. Since it always loses flavor when dried, you can effectively counteract this shortcoming with the following preparation work:
- Always harvest lemon balm shortly before flowering.
- ideally, the morning dew has just evaporated
- cut the shoots 10-12 centimeters above the ground
- use freshly sharpened, disinfected scissors or a knife for this purpose
The harvested branches rinse under cold running water. Damaged parts of the plant are carefully sorted out. Then spread the melisee on a kitchen towel, where it dries for 1 day.
How to dry lemon balm in the air
Air-drying herbs is one of the classic methods in the hobby garden. The advantages are obvious, because the procedure is uncomplicated and free. This is how to dry lemon balm:
- defoliate the prepared stems in the lower part.
- tie them together with a raffia ribbon or rubber twist
- do not pull the binding material too tight
- Thread the small bouquets on a string or wire. Suspended in a rain-protected, dark place, the melisee will dry within 14 days. During this time, check the fragrant bunches to immediately sort out moldy specimens.
How to dry lemon balm in the oven
If you prefer to have your lemon balm dried overnight, take the oven for this purpose. Spread the prepared branches on a baking tray so that they do not touch each other. The process is somewhat more space-saving if the leaves are picked and spread out individually. Proceed as follows:
- preheat the oven to 80 to 100 degrees Celsius.
- turn off the oven and put the baking tray in it
- leave it there for a day until the melisee is dry
- Store your healthy supply of the versatile spice and medicinal plant in dark, airtight containers.
Dry lemon balm in a jiffy in the dehydrator
Dried lemon balm has a reputation for lacking flavor. This claim cannot be completely dismissed, given the lengthy drying process. With a dehydrator, this phase can be significantly shortened to a few hours. This is accompanied by a noticeably lower loss of aroma. Here’s how to do it right:
- distribute the cleaned leaves on the sieve trays in the dehydrator
- place them next to each other and do not stack them
- set the appliance to a gentle 30 degrees Celsius
- After 6 to 8 hours, the leaves, which are rich in content, are dried so that they rustle. You can force the process by turning the lemon balm every now and then. Do not be tempted to turn up the temperature control. The drying process will be quicker, but the loss of aroma will increase proportionally.
Tips & Tricks
Is the wait for the crop to dry getting on your nerves? Then brew a tea from lemon balm. Even Hildegard von Bingen swore by its calming effect. Simply put 3 teaspoons of leaves in a cup and pour a quarter liter of boiling water over it. Let steep for 10 minutes, strain and enjoy.