Our lovely Bee Balm is blooming in the Herb bed and the bees are a buzzing. This plant is from the Monarda family. Another name for this beautiful herb is Wild Bergamot because some varieties have a mild citrus taste like the Bergamot Orange. These plants have beautiful showy blossoms with square stems and opposing leaves, just like the mint family. The leaves of some varieties have a minty smell and taste.
To make a refreshing tea, simply gather the fresh leaves and blossoms and steep in hot water for 10 minutes. You can use them fresh or dried and they combine well with other mints and herbals.
Taste your blossoms and leaves to see what flavors you are growing. As mentioned above some taste minty others peppery, some similar to oregano and then there are the mild citrus varieties. All can be used in cooking. Add the blossoms to salads and poultry dishes. Bee Balm complements many fruits that are in season now, such as; strawberries, melons, pineapple, tangerines and apples.
The early settlers to America learned about Wild Bergamot from the Oswego Native Americans. Because of this, many refer to tea made from Bee Balm as Oswego Tea. I found a wonderful website with lots of information about Bee Balm and some tasty recipes too. To check it out click here.
Bees of all sizes and types visit our plants and so do butterflies and the occasional humming bird. This plant is a prolific grower and each year we have more and more blooms. It is easy to divide and plant elsewhere or to share with friends.
Do you grow Bee Balm? What do you do with your leaves and blossoms?
Please share with us.