Lemon Verbena, Aloysia citriodora

Now that the clocks have changed and the weather has transformed from winter to high spring over night,  it is the ideal time to prune your Lemon Verbena.

Be brave, cut back hard to just above a leaf bud or to where they will eventually form; they are easily visible on the stem.

By doing this now you will be rewarded with masses of new growth in the summer.

This will then give you masses of leaves too make  the wonderful tisane which is called ‘Verveine’ in France.

Alternatively you can make one my families favourites

Lemon Verbena Crème Brulee

My mother made the best crème brulee. Alistair, my son,  has inherited her passion for them and always rates restaurants and cooks on how well they make them. This is a wonderful recipe; the flavour with its hint of lemon sherbet makes this brulee very special.

Serves 4, Preheat Oven to 140°C/275F/gas mark 1

225ml milk

1 handful of lemon verbena leaves finely chopped, ( reserve 4 whole leaves for use as garnish)

7 egg yolks

100g caster sugar

60ml double cream

50g demerara sugar

Put the milk in a pan with the chopped lemon verbena leaves, bring to simmering point, remove from the heat and then leave to cool and infuse. Place the egg yolks in a bowl with the caster sugar and whisk until pale and thick. Add the cooled infused milk and cream, whisk well. Pass through a fine meshed sieve.  Ladle the mixture into 4 ramekin dishes and set them in a roasting pan. Pour in enough water to come three quarters the way up the side of the ramekins, pop into the pre heated oven and  cook for 1 hour or until set. Leave to cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Just before serving, sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top and caramelise with either a blow torch or by putting them under a hot grill. Decorate with some fresh lemon verbena leaves.

Recipe taken from Jekka’s Herb Cook Book

Bon Appetite

All photographs and text are  © Jekka McVicar 2012.  Please do not use without permission.

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9 thoughts on “Lemon Verbena, Aloysia citriodora

  1. Have to comment on your post, Jekka! I got my two lemon verbenas inside with leaves all winter! Maybe not the best idea, but they will be growing new stems soon rather than later. We are going to have a frost on Tuesday. Say a prayer! xxoo Nancy

    • Hi Nancy, we are also having unseasonally warm weather. I have just checked the forecast and it says we are to have a frost next Sunday!.Oh dear. Mind you Lemon Verbena is tougher than you think and it will happily survive -4C as long as the container is not over wet. Jx

    • I have grown it for the past 30 years including last winter which was -12C at night and -6C in the day and only lost one plant. The reason being it is not the cold that will kill it; it is the wet which does the damage. So grow it in a pot, sink the pot in the garden for the growing season, lift it in the autumn and put it in a cold greenhouse. Cut down the watering so that is only just damp. Prune hard in the spring. Then you will have masses of leaves.

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