Culinary Uses of Linden Leaves

The Linden tree, also called lime tree or Tilia Europoea, is a tall tree with fragrant flowers that are often used in teas and other herbal remedies. The book "The Way of Herbs" reports that linden flower tea is one of the favorite beverages in Europe. The leaves and flowers of this tree have calming properties and are also used in a number of culinary dishes.

Tea

Linden tea is second only to chamomile as Europe's most popular herbal tea beverage. Measure 1 tbsp. linden leaves and/or flowers into a teapot for every cup of tea you want to make. Cover with boiling water and allow to steep for 20 to 30 minutes, according to the book, "Herbal Remedies for Dummies."

Sauces

The leaves of the linden tree are sometimes used in sauces that accompany seafood dishes. A recipe on FrenchGardening.com recommends using bulk linden rather than tea bags. To make this dish, add linden leaves or flowers to a reduction of olive oil, wine, vegetables, fish and other herbs. After steeping, remove the linden by straining the mixture. Bake the dish with the filets and leeks. After cooking, drain the liquid and whisk it with egg yolks and crème fraiche. Serve with a spoonful of linden sauce over the fish. New potatoes also blend well with the linden-based sauce.

Flour Substitute

During the Second World War, staple commodities such as flour were often in short supply due to rationing and the problems associated with shipping foodstuffs from one part of the world to others. Linden leaves helped to fill the gap in France when flour was scarce. The leaves were dried, pounded into a paste and then put through a sieve. The linden powder was mixed with any available flour and then used to bake breads, cakes and other baked goods.

Thickening Agent and Porridge

Linden flour has been used to thicken soups and stews. In World War II France, some people combined it with barley or oats to extend the family's porridge at breakfast time when staple foods were in short supply. In Africa, dried linden leaves are cooked into a type of porridge, mixed with maize meal or oats and water.

Wild Linden Chocolate

The berries, or fruit, of the linden tree can be made into a substance similar to chocolate by combining the fruit with linden flowers and grape seed oil.

Keywords: linden tree leaves, herbs cooking, Tilia Europoea

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.