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Requested Recipe:

Lemon Balm Wine

"Could I make wine from lemon balm using your mint recipes and would you know if it would be worthwhile doing so?" Doug, Carey, Ohio

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis L.) is a member of the (Lamiaceae) and its younger leaves do indeed resemble mint. Lemon balm is a medical herb, having been used to treat stomach ailments and nervous conditions. Because of its fresh and pure lemon taste it has some value as a spice, often substituted for fresh lemon grass or (in dried form) sassafras. Lemon balm is sometimes used to flavor sweet drinks and may be added to any food, dessert or drink containing lemon juice to get a more intensive lemon aroma.

Lemon balm has a great affinity for fresh fruits, but especially apples. In the recipe below, frozen apple juice concentrate can easily be substituted for the white grape juice frozen concentrate.


Rinse and clean lemon balm and then chop leaves and stems coarsely. Put into 2-qt saucepan with lid. Add 1 quart water, bring to a boil, put lid on pan, and turn off heat. Let steep for 2 hours. Meanwhile, boil remaining water and dissolve sugar, tannin and acid blend (or lemon juice) in it. Pour into primary and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain lemon balm and add water to primary. Stir in pectic enzyme, grape concentrate and yeast nutrient. Cover and set aside for 8-10 hours. Add activated yeast, recover, and stir daily for 6 days. Transfer to secondary and fit with airlock. Rack, top up and refit airlock after 30 days and again after wine clears. Stabilize and sweeten to taste if desired. Bulk age under airlock for 3 months and taste. If wine has not smoothed out, age another 3 months. Rack into bottles and serve chilled. [Author's own recipe]

My thanks to Doug in Carey, Ohio for this request.

This page was updated May 22nd, 2002

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