Weekend Project: Home-Dried Lemon Verbena Tea

By Mary Margaret Chappell July 19, 2012 Categories: Weekend Projects

Sure, I swoon over summer basil just like everyone else, but the herb that has my heart and soul is lemon verbena. Each year, I buy more lemon verbena plants than the last, squeezing them into window boxes between the geraniums and tucking them next to tomato plants in my small container garden. And each year, I pick, pluck, and trim the stems several times throughout the summer to dry for herbal tea through the winter because I simply can’t get enough of the soothing, floral, lemony flavor.

Drying lemon verbena is easy because the leaves are already pretty dry compared to other herbs like mint or basil. Simply spread the washed and dried sprigs on a baking sheet or in a basket (line with parchment paper, if desired), turn once or twice, then, two or three days later, pack loosely into an airtight container. Then to make tea, place a handful of sprigs in a teapot, cover with boiling water, and let steep 3 minutes. I like my tea sweetened with honey, but it’s also good plain, hot or cold.

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comments

I'm growing lemon verbena for the first time, and as we are entering autumn soon I realized I needed to do something with this beautiful smelling plant. Thanks for the inspiration - I have clipped a bunch of springs and am air drying them for tea. Any idea how long the dried leaves could be stored in the air tight jar?

Emily3 - 2014-09-18 23:12:42

Whoops -- just noticed the reply from Mary herself below, sorry for the repeat question! For those who enjoy teas, I highly suggest trying the same technique with raspberry leaves -- very nice!!

Becky - 2012-10-02 06:39:25

I air-dry all my herbs and was somewhat puzzled that so many sites suggest doing it in the oven for lemon verbena in particular -- does anyone know if there is a particular reason to do so?? For most plant material and herbs I clip branches/bunches, tie or rubber band them together and hang them on a tack in the wall to dry. I tray dry smaller leaves and petals. This is my first time growing my own verbena though, so I was wondering if it is different somehow? thanks!

Becky - 2012-10-02 06:37:50

I usually wash first, then air dry, or in paper bags.

cuqui (cookie) - 2012-09-20 05:09:06

Hi Christina, I just air dry--there is no need to dry them in the oven. Spread the leaves and stems in a single layer on a baking sheet or in a clean basket. Once the top leaves look and feel dry, turn them over and let the stems dry completely. (The whole process shouldn't take more than 2-3 days). I store my leaves in large, airtight glass jars, but any airtight container will work. For more verbena ideas, check out this article: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/article/lemon-twist/

Mary Margaret Chappell - 2012-08-16 05:43:07

I'm confused. Are you drying them in an oven or on the kitchen counter? Could you please tell me because I have Lemon verbena coming out of my ears and I don't want to throw it out but I had to cut it back. If you are using the oven could you please tell me what temp the oven is at. Thanks, Christina

Christina - 2012-08-13 23:39:20

Hi Earthlover, I just air dry and have never had any problems.

Mary Margaret Chappell - 2012-07-23 17:25:00

Do you turn the oven on to dry the leaves or just air dry?

Earthlover - 2012-07-22 23:45:57