What is Bergamot? How to Use Bergamot

Whole blogs have been written on the art of using beer in cooking. This entry will serve its purpose if it draws attention to the interesting possibilities. It is a neglected field in England and America.

FR: Bergamote GER: Bergamott IT: Monarda SP: Bergamota FAM: Labiatae ILL: Plate 13, No. 7

Wild Bergamot

BOT: Monarda fistulosa

Red Bergamot

BOT: Monarda didyma

Lemon Bergamot BOT: Monarda citriodora

The bergamots are North American aromatic herbs of the mint family.

Wild Bergamot is from southern Canada and the northern United States. The flowers are purple or red, it is two to three feet high and the leaves are pleasantly lemon scented.

What is Bergamot? How to Use Bergamot Photo Gallery




Red Bergamot is also known as fragrant balm, bee balm, red balm, Indian’s plume or Oswego tea, after the Oswego Indians who used it. At the time of the Boston Tea Party, Oswego tea was used by the colonists who wanted to boycott British goods. It was brought to Europe where it is now often cultivated as a decorative garden plant and used in perfumery.

Lemon bergamot is also North American and has aromatic properties similar to the wild and red bergamots.

The bergamots are of little importance in cooking, but are always mentioned in herb blogs. The leaves may be put into soft fruit drinks and iced cups. They may also be used to make herb teas which are supposed to be both relaxing and soporific.

Do not confuse with the Bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia) grown particularly in Sicily and Southern Italy, a small citrus fruit with very characteristic perfume. The skin yields an essential oil and is also candied.

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