Thursday, August 12, 2010

How essential are these oils?

A few months ago, my friend Em gave me a recipe for zesty lemon balm jelly. My parents happen to have a huge patch of lemon balm in their yard, so I promised her I would try it. After a few ziplock bags of the stuff went moldy sitting in my kitchen, I decided to actually do it tonight. It didn't look very involved or time-consuming, so I thought it would be easy to get done in one sitting.

The first step is to make a lemon balm infusion, by pretty much boiling the balm to death in a pot of water to get all the essential oils out of the plant and into the water. I started the pot boiling and walked away. However, the unwatched pot didn't boil very quickly, and it ended up taking a good forty five minutes.

Also, the smell of lemon balm infusion is . . . interesting. I'm not quite sure how to describe it, except it almost is a combination of artichokes and lemon. Not really bad, but not really amazing, either. However, my kitchen now smells like . . . lemony artichokes.

Since it took so long to make the infusion, I opted to store the infusion and finish the jelly (which will hopefully not taste like artichokes) at a later time. I went ahead and took advantage of the little screw-top containers I got to put the finished jelly in to store the infusion. All I can say is it's a good thing the infusion is such a dark color or my roommates might be concerned.

Now I am going to finish my evening by enjoying the scent of some other essential oils. I am in love with ending my day by reading out on the back porch, which is where the tomatoes and basil and mint are growing. Mmmmm . . . now those are smells that I can unequivocally say are delicious.

I'm reading a fascinating book called "Wide as the Waters" about the history of and leading up to and resulting from the translation of the Bible into English. I love it. And off to read I go.

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