Cookery and Cosmetic Use (January 10, 2009)
Scented geraniums are classified as herbs and the leaves may be used extensively in cooking and cosmetic preparations.
The highly aromatic leaves will add fragrance and flavour to both savoury and sweet dishes. It is always better to err on the side of caution and use less leaves until you become familiar with the flavours they impart, as the result may be far more intense than you anticipated.
Always thoroughly wash and dry the leaves before use.
Avoid using leaves that have had any fungicide or pesticide sprayed on them.
If unsure always check Manufacturers guidelines as to the number of days that should pass between spraying and harvesting.
If you have a new plant it is always best to delay using the leaves until you are sure that any previous spraying won't have any harmful effects.
All scented geranium leaves are rich in Vitamin C but their use is dictated to by the aromatic fragrance and flavour the individual plants have. Some are very acidic and grassy in taste and would be unsuitable for culinary use. To know which leaves may be used simply be guided by your nose!
Another interesting fact is that we all have an individual sense of smell and one leaf might smell like nutmeg to one person whilst it might impart hues of eucalyptus to another. Perhaps, this is why understanding a scented geranium classification may often be troublesome. Another reason is that sometimes a scented geranium might have more than one fragrance going on at the same time, such as rose and lemon, i.e. Graveolens.
Overall, we would recommend that you always smell the leaves before using them in a recipe to make sure that its particular scent matches your expectations. As you become one of our SG addicts and admirers you will, with use, be able to distinguish between one variety of lemon scented geranium and another. This will give you the added impetus to increase your collection resulting in a good selection of multi-functional living herbs.
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