Most of the spices you had heard about till now belonged to the Indian subcontinent. But did you know that an Australian spice with a citrus fragrance is used in a number of stir fry dishes? Yes, the name of the spice is lemon myrtle and it is found in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. Thanks to the Internet, you can order this spice and prepare lemon myrtle recipes anywhere in the world.
Health benefits of lemon myrtle
Lemon myrtle is the name of a flowering plant, and its tree grows to a height of roughly 60 feet. It also has other names such as sweet verbena myrtle, sweet verbena tree, and lemon scented backhousia. This plant provides the following health benefits:
- It is effective in treatment of GI disorders such as bloating and indigestion
- Lemon myrtle essential oil can reduce inflammation and fight the infection which causes bronchitis
- Its anti inflammatory properties help in combating the infection leading to a sinus problem
- You can use it to treat acne on oily skin
- Lemon myrtle boosts the immune system and protects against many harmful diseases
- It has minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, and Zinc, along with important vitamins
The use of lemon myrtle in cooking
Both savory and sweet lemon myrtle recipes are available. You can substitute its leaves for bay leaves and prepare soups, stews, casseroles, roasts, and also marinades. Some of the recipes which use it are:
- Native herb and Kale Pesto
- Lemon Myrtle and Pear Syrup Cake
- Egyptian Dukkah using lemon myrtle
- Meatballs in a native herb and pepper sauce
- Spiced BBQ kangaroo with chips
The flavor of lemon myrtle closely resembles the citrus fruit but does not carry its acidity. Therefore, it can be used for a number of cream-based or milk-based recipes. Here are some examples:
- Lemon myrtle tea cake
- Lemon myrtle cheesecake
- Lemon myrtle pavlova
- Lemon myrtle and coconut rice pudding
- Lemon myrtle panna cotta
Remember not to use this spice for extended cooking times, or else it may give out a strong eucalyptus flavor and the lemon fragrance could be lost. Apart from prepared dishes, you can add it for flavor in poultry and fish marinades. You can also incorporate it in salad dressings, dips, and flavored vinegars. Additionally, it can substitute lemongrass and works well in Asian stir fry dishes.
Suitable for beverages
You may also use lemon myrtle for flavor in iced or hot tea. However, remember to follow the two guidelines mentioned below:
- Add only a small quantity, from ¼ to ½ teaspoons
- Put it in beverages prepared for short durations only. Do not heat it for more than 10-15 minutes.
Purchase and storage
One of the best ways to purchase an authentic variety of lemon myrtle is to order it from a reputed website. Always ensure that it is presented to you in an airtight pack. Store it just like other green herbs, in a sealed container within a dark and cool place.