The brilliant scarlet bee balm, is a perennial herb and belongs to the mint family, Lamiaceae. My fondest memories are the patches that grew at Camp Arcona, a much loved Girl Scout Camp in Mechanicsburg, PA. Sadly, the camp was sold for real estate development. Our beloved camp may be gone, but our memories remain. When day camp began in June, the gorgeous crimson flowers were always there to greet us!
There are two reasons bergamot has the folk name bee balm. One is bees are attracted to it, and another is the leaves are soothing when rubbed on a bee sting.
The flowers are edible and the petals add a tangy flavor, in addition to a splash of color, to garden salads and fruit salads. Add to corn muffins or corn bread for unexpected zest! They compliment sweet as well as savory. Use your imagination and make this versatile herb a part of your welcoming summer ritual!
Lavender wands are easy to make and a Facebook friend just old me she has had one for
40 years and it still holds its fragrance!
Begin the wands immediately after the stems are cut so they will be flexible when you bend them.
You will need 15 stalks of lavender, ribbon (buy good quality satin - I used about 3 yards of 3/16 inches wide, but amounts will vary depending on the length of the lavender stalks.
Wrap the ribbon diagonally down the stem, secure at the base of the stem with a couple of knots, then cut the ribbon.
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh lavender blossoms
I cup (two sticks) butter at room temperature
2 cups almond flour
1 cup flour
Combine the sugar and fresh lavender blossoms using a food processor.
Add the butter and combine. Next add the flours.
Mix until thoroughly combined.
The batter will be soft.
Chill for 30 minutes.
Flour both sides of the dough and place between two long sheets of waxed paper.
Using a rolling pin, roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Work quickly. The dough will get soft again as you work with it.
Cut cookies with a floured cookie cutter.
Remove all the excess dough and return to the 'fridge. This will make it easier to move your shaped cookies.
Gently lift cookies onto a cookie sheet lined with baking parchment paper.
Chill the cookies on the baking sheets for 30 minutes
Set oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Once the oven is preheated, bake for about 30 minutes. Begin checking at 20 minutes and don't let the edges of the cookies brown.
Cool on a wire rack placed.
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tablespoon water.
Mix thoroughly with a fork. Add a little more water if needed.
Keeping the cookies on the wire rack, move them over the sink if your rack fits, or place waxed paper under neath for easy clean up. This can get messy!
Use a spoon to lightly glaze the cookies. Top with lavender blossoms. Let the glaze set up and serve.
My last harvest of lavender and almond lavender cookies to celebrate the summer solstice.
One of the simplest ways to use lavender is to simply gather the stalks of lavender and tie with a ribbon. It's best to cut them as soon as the flowers are in bloom in the spring. Cut them a few inches above the woody growth so you won't harm the plant. Gather first thing in the morning after the dew has dried but before the sun becomes intense.
Hang to dry in a cool dark place.
You'll need 6 stalks of lavender
Ribbon - I've been using 3/16 inch lavender satin ribbon for all my projects. It's not too large to over power the lightness of the flowers.
Make two lavender braids using 3 stalks for each braid. When they are braided, bend into a loop. Put the two loops together to form a heart, keeping the flowers on top. Cut off the stems in the back and tie with a ribbon.
12 to 18 stalks of lavender
One egg white, beaten until frothy
1/3 Granulated sugar
Waxed paper or parchment paper
Dip just the flowers of the lavender into the egg whites to completely cover, then dip them into the sugar. Place on waxed paper or parchment paper and let dry away from heat or sun. Use as a garnish with fruit salad, lemonade, or iced tea.
Stir some fresh lavender flowers into your favorite sugar cookie recipe, vanilla ice cream or lemon sherbet.
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!