Discover the Benefits of Lemon Myrtle
There’s a recent movement to utilise more native Australian ingredients, whether it be herbs, spices or native flora and fauna in our cooking. Popular Australian chefs are increasingly including more homegrown ingredients in their menus, whether its Kylie Kwong’s warrigal greens steamed dumplings and crispy saltbush cakes, James Viles’ use of Davidson Plum and finger lime at Wolgan Valley Retreat in NSW and Jock Zonfrillo’s contemporary renditions such as fermented kangaroo with bunya nut. Going back to the roots of traditional bush tucker is also unearthing the many reasons they were traditionally used by indigenous people. One of the most popular native herbs is without a doubt, lemon myrtle. It is naturally occurring in the wetter coastal areas of northern New South Wales and southern Queensland with graceful hanging branches of soft green leaves and clusters of cream flowers. Lemon myrtle has a fresh citrus fragrance with creamy notes, and works in herbal teas, fish and chicken dishes, ice cream and sorbet.
With a fresh fragrance somewhere between lemon and lime, it’s a tasty zesty inclusion in our pesticide-free black tea Nerada Loose-Leaf Tea with Lemon Myrtle, but there’s also a myriad of other uses in the kitchen, which we reveal below.
What is Lemon Myrtle?
Lemon myrtle, or Backhousia citrodora as it is scientifically known, is a relatively slow-growing aromatic flowering shrub, native to Australia. It’s often found in coastal rain forest areas, predominantly in Northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland.
Lemon myrtle stands out for its fresh fragrance and is quite often referred to as the ‘Queen of lemon herbs’. Named by the English botanist James Backhouse in 1853, it is well known for its richly scented lemon leaves and attractive white flowers produced in long stalked clusters.
How can you use Lemon Myrtle?
The leaves of lemon myrtle are often harvested for essential oils given their complex citrus aroma and flavour. This native plant can be used in cooking to add flavour to a recipe, blended in beverages (such as our Organic Green Tea and Lemon Myrtle) or used in toiletries and beauty products.
What are the health benefits of lemon myrtle?
Indigenous Australians have long utilised the healing properties of lemon myrtle as part of their traditional bush medicines. The potential medicinal use is now being widely studied, with researchers at Charles Sturt University finding that lemon myrtle contains antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. This study also highlights that the nutrient-rich leaves contain significant amounts of calcium, lutein (a compound important for eye health), antioxidants, vitamins A and E, as well as zinc and magnesium.
How do you use lemon myrtle in cooking?
The aroma of lemon myrtle is similar to a blend of lemongrass, kaffir lime and lime, with a slight eucalyptus background. And when it comes to using it in the kitchen, a little goes a long way.
It is often featured as a key ingredientin recipes, and is a delicious way of adding depth of flavour to stir fries, rubs, marinades or even cheesecakes, ice creams and sorbets.
When brewed with black tea, lemon myrtle adds a light citrus perfume and floral freshness to your cup making it delicious for any time of day.
Looking for a refreshing drink for the warmer weather? Why not try our Lemon Myrtle Iced Tea recipe? Taste the aromatic and zesty flavour combination for yourself with our popular Nerada Loose-Leaf Tea with Lemon Myrtle, available from our online store.
Disclaimer – Please note that while all information given in regards to the health benefits of our tea is backed by scientific study, we recommend consulting with a medical practitioner if you have any specific questions.