photo by Dave Koch

In our latest CSA box from Eatwell Farms we received a bundle of Lemon Verbena.  I'm completely unfamiliar with the herb.  What do I do with it?  Fish?  Steak?  Tofu? 

It smells like the essence of lemon, almost more lemony than lemons.  There is also a woodsy note, not as up-front as the lemon but definitely there.  Earthy, herbal, almost cedar-ish.  I'm intrigued.

Lemon Verbena

 So, I read a little... 

The plant is native to South America and grows to a height of about a foot or so.  It is often used in herbal teas, commonly with mint and lavender.  It is also found in perfumes, potpourri, and sachets. 

The leaves dry up quickly; within hours of being picked.  The leaves are tough though, and are often removed from the drink or dish once they have added their flavor, much like bay leaves.


With each box from Eatwell comes some recipes and enclosed this week was one called Fruit in Lemon Verbena Syrup.  So I figure since I'm a neophyte of the herb, let's start there... this is a variation of theirs, ad libitum



 I began by making the syrup which was "simply" water, sugar, and Lemon Verbena. I eye-balled all three but close to 2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup dried Lemon Verbena.

I brought it to a boil, then killed the heat, and allowed it to cool.




Then I sliced up some fruit.  I used Cantaloupe, Oranges, and Strawberries.











By the way, Eatwell's Strawberries are some of the most delicious I've ever had, and I grew up in California, which produces more than 85% of the US' strawberries. 

What I noticed at a glance was how much smaller and darker they are than what you normally find.

Also, when I bit into them, their seeds were more pronounced than what I'm used to.  Not unpleasant, but you notice them more.











I put the Lemon Verbena Syrup in a squirt bottle and hosed down the fruit salad with what may have been 2 tablesoons of it.  I finished it by topping it with Goji Berries.

The extra syrup I think will make some fun cocktails, specifically, I think it would go well with gin.  Both have that herbal/woodsy flavor; gin deriving its dominant character from juniper.  I'll let you know.




Authordavid koch

Ugli Fruit - photo by GabeB 

So New Years Resolutions are in full swing and the easiest, and most delicious, way to a more salubrious lifestyle is to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet.  Recently enough, the Center for Disease Control has set up a new website to promote the addition of fruits and veggies into the American populous,  

They have their tips, but what's really cool is their recipe search function.  You can enter keywords and ingredients, then select any or all of: Appetizers, Beverages, Breakfast, Desserts, Dips/Spreads/Salsas, Entrees, Finger Foods, Salads/Stews, Side Dishes, or Soups - and it will spit out recipes that match.  This was more or less an idea spawned by friends of mine years ago, I'm glad someone did it.

Instead of entering a keyword, you can also pull down and select a specific fruit or vegetable and it will do the same.  Cruising through their list I came upon a fruit I've never heard of... "Ugli Fruit?"  Mind you, I've read Adam Leith Gollner's The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce, and Obsession (GREAT book, by the way) so I've at least heard of a ton of exotic fruits, even though I may have not tried them.

This piqued my interest, so I did some digging.  I found the following information on

"UGLI® is the registered trade mark under which Cabel Hall Citrus Ltd. markets its brand of tangelos [a tangelo is a hybrid of a grapefruit (or pomelo) and a tangerine] from Jamaica.

This tangelo is a variety of citrus fruit grown exclusively in Jamaica and exported by Trout Hall Ltd. to markets all over the world. It was discovered growing wild in Jamaica over 80 years ago and has been developed by the family of the owners of Trout Hall Ltd. into the commercial variety now in production.

The original tree is believed to have been a hybrid formed from the Seville orange, the grapefruit and the tangerine families. Since 1924 when it was first discovered several improved scions have been used by Trout Hall Ltd. to produce the current variety which is so popular."


Unfortunately for us, only has one recipe for the Ugli Fruit... yup you may have guessed it, Exotic Fruit Salad.


Authordavid koch