Verbena, or lemon verbena, is known for its floral-lemon scented leaves, which infuse sweet, fresh citric flavours into a dish. Verbena is native to South America, but arrived in Europe in the 17th century, and has been particularly popular in France ever since, where it's known as verveine. Indeed, ‘verveine citronelle’ is often sipped as a digestive tea at the end of meals.
Moroccan Verbena is renowned for its calming and soothing effect. To enjoy in its purest form, steep a few of the delicate, feather-shaped verbena leaves in hot water and drink as a pure infusion. There’s a lot of scope for using verbena in more adventurous ways though – from jellies to sorbet, marmalade and homemade lemonade with a twist. Verbena can also be rehydrated and used to flavour a syrup to accompany a verrine of tropical fruit salad.
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