Since I learned to feed my lemon tree three times a year, it gives me fruit! Right now the fruit is still green and camouflaged in the leafy canopy. I checked in with my tree yesterday and noticed that some of the “branches” were not woody or thorny; they were suckers that need to be pruned. Without the suckers, more energy can flow to the fruit-bearing branches.
I cut and bundled the suckers in my hands and as I did, a soft hint neroli tickled my nose! The tree is not flowering yet, but looks AND smells like it’s getting ready.
As I enjoyed the sensory experience of these prickly branches, I remembered being in the kitchen of a client and his wife. We were sitting at the island and she was heating up dinner for him and the contractors who were working out back. She had beautiful citrus trees and grape vines covering her yard. As I admired them, she told me that both lemon and grape leaves make a nutritive tea. She served me a cup with honey.
I’m going to make lemon leaf tea!
It was quite the epiphany. I removed leaves from the stems, then washed and dried them. I weighed 2 ounces of leaf into a 1/4 gallon mason jar, poured boiling water to the brim and sealed with a lid for 4-12 hours. When I popped the seal and strained the tea it was an amazing almost neon yellow color! And the flavor was just as inspiring- a harmony of light, lemon and leafiness. Next time I’m going to crush the leaves a bit before brewing.
It’s hard to find any information about lemon leaf and it’s preparations or beneficial qualities. If you have any stories or recipes, I’d be happy to hear them.