Edible Flower #10: Bee Balm
Bee balm is one of the few herbs native to North America. The red variety (Monarda didyma) is nicknamed “Oswego tea” for its ancient use by the Oswego Indians as a minty, citrus-flavored tea.
Make tea by steeping a tablespoon of chopped flowers per two cups of water. You can also use a few spoonfuls of chopped flowers to flavor ice cream, cakes, and other desserts.
Pink and lavender wild varieties (Monarda fistulosa) have a spicier flavor and are great as a garnish for veggies and salads.
Bee balm is a perennial, liking sun to part shade and hardy to planting zone 4. It’s perfect for the back of a perennial bed, where it grows about three feet fall, spreads fast, and blooms in mid to late summer.