Preparation time: 40+ min
For 2 liters of lemon balm syrup
300 g fresh lemon balm
2 l water for soaking the lemon balm
3 organic lemons
3 organic oranges
2 tbs bicarbonate soda
2 l water for soaking lemons and oranges
1 kg brown sugar
1 tsp citric acid
Soak the lemons and oranges in a solution of water and bicarbonate soda for at least an hour. Even if you use organic fruit, the skin of citruses is in most cases still sprayed and bicarbonate soda neutralizes those toxins. Wash and scrub the fruit under running water.
Cut lemon balm above the last leaf bud. Lemon balm will regenerate more quickly this way and you can cut a whole bush with beautiful sprouts 3 - 4 times in 1 season.
Slice clean lemons and oranges into rings and remove the hard stalks of the lemon balm. Place a layer of lemon balm in a bigger bowl, then place another layer of lemon/orange rings, and so on. When you use up all the fruit and leaves, add approx. 2 liters of water and weigh them down (I use a plate) to keep the leaves underwater. Cover with a lid or cloth and leave it for 48 hours.
After two days, uncover the lemon balm mixture and crush everything with your hands (you may help yourself with rubber gloves) - press, squeeze and knead to squeeze the juices out of citruses and essential oils from the lemon balm. When you feel that you have sufficiently kneaded the batter, squeeze it well and throw it away. Strain the leftover liquid into a bigger pot, add sugar, citric acid, and bring to a boil. Stir several times to dissolve the sugar. Prepare the glass bottles. Bottles need to be cleaned well, sterilized, and I also recommend you use new caps.
Remove the syrup from the heat just before it starts to boil and transfer it hot to the bottles. Close the bottles well and cover them with a blanket so the syrup can cool down gradually creating a vacuum, which means that the bottles are very well closed and no oxygen can come into the bottles to spoil your syrup.
Lemon balm syrup is a refreshing beverage and it is perfect for hot summer days. You can also use it for cocktails and desserts.
Use your imagination and tailor the recipe to your taste. Enjoy creativity and Bon Appetit.