don’t get all judgy on me…lemon myrtle goes really well with gin & find out what else you can do with this bush tucker

Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Home | 28 Comments

Being somewhat of a gin hag, I like to experiment with things in my gin. I’ll often throw borage, finger limes, cucumbers and cumquats in my G & T. My Aunty has recently informed me that basil also goes nicely (you know who you are). Just to be clear, I do not grow food in my garden specifically for gin purposes. I know that there is much more to the luscious lemon myrtle than being infused with alcohol…but what the hey. The leaves are a source of the strongest and purest citral oil in the world. Just crush them a little to get the oils going. The fragrance is mind blowing and the lemon/ lime flavour is why it’s so awesome with gin. One of my other favourite ways is a few fresh lemon myrtle leaves infused in hot water for an invigorating cuppa. Which always reminds me of having cups of tea at Northey Street City Farm. Which by the way, I’m very happy to say I have recently joined their amazing education team to share the permaculture love.

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I’ll quickly give you the low down on growing lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) so you can start growing it then go drink your gin. Firstly, my advice is grow it in a pot as it can grow up to 8 metres (or even higher). The plant is native to sub-tropical Queensland so obviously it grows well in Brissie but it can still grow well in cooler areas. Lemon myrtle prefers a warm, sunny and sheltered position but tolerates part shade. It likes slightly acidic, well-drained soil and needs to be well watered. The best method of propagation is from tip cuttings (best done in March) as seeds have a low germination rate. I bought a small plant from the Northey Street nursery but you should be able to find it at most good nurseries. Honestly, I’ve had no problems with pests and diseases which is amazing considering grasshoppers ambushed everything else in my garden this year.

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E D I B L E   U S E S

Whole leaves can be used fresh or dried to add a lemon fragrance & flavour (without the acidity) to a variety of savoury & sweet dishes. I always stuff leaves in my roast chicken & whole oven baked fish. Also fantastic in biscuits (especially shortbread), muffins & cheesecakes.

Strong flavour so use sparingly & towards the end of cooking process.

Use as a substitute for lemongrass & kaffir lime leaves in Asian cooking.

Dried leaves are less pungent than fresh & can be ground to a powder. Store fresh leaves in the refrigerator & dried leaves in an airtight container in a dark place for a few months.

P E R M A C U L T U R E   &   O T H E R   U S E S

Provides shade, flowers (in Autumn) to attract beneficial insects & pollinators, ornamental, hedging

Essential oil is extracted via steam distillation of the leaves & green branchlets, ‘uplifting’ & ‘calming’ aroma. Apparently good for depression & anxiety.

Numerous health benefits, powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal & anti-viral properties

Widely used in cosmetic industry, pharmaceutical applications & cleaning products

L E M O N   M Y R T L E   I C E D   T E A

Infuse about 6 leaves into a litre of boiling water & leave for 1 hour. Add organic honey to sweeten while hot. Drink warm or keep in the refrigerator & serve on ice for lemon myrtle iced tea (throw in a few extra leaves).

You can also add gin to this one if you’re a gin hag. PS: Buy Aussie gin! My favs are West Winds-The Sabre (WA), Four Pillars (VIC), Forty Spotted (TAS) & MGC -The Melbourne Gin Company (VIC).

28 Comments

  1. emma
    May 29, 2016

    I mean lemon myrtle with gin is genius!

    I’m wondering (re: the lack of pests etc) if lemon myrtle is a natural repellent of pests like quite a few herbs can be. It sounds a great all rounder in the garden 🙂

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      May 30, 2016

      LOL I think so! I’m not completely sure Emma but the high content of citral oil may explain why the pests leave it the hell alone 🙂

      Reply
  2. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    May 29, 2016

    We love lemon myrtle too! It has such a beautiful aroma to it and it’s so accessible to people that are unfamiliar with native Australian items too! Thanks for the growing tips 🙂

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      May 30, 2016

      No worries Lorraine. Lemon myrtle is just awesome and people are absolutely loving it when they learn more about it!

      Reply
  3. Tandy | Lavender and Lime
    May 30, 2016

    I have some dried lemon myrtle in my spice drawer which I should use more often. Thanks for the great ideas of how to cook with it 😀

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      May 30, 2016

      Thanks Tandy, the versatility of lemon myrtle is amazing. So many uses, so little time… 🙂

      Reply
  4. Function 9
    May 31, 2016

    There are quite a few lemon myrtle trees around Brisbane. Free food!

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      May 31, 2016

      Absolutely, there are heaps! So easy to tell just from the fragrance. Everyone should help themselves. Once you know, you know…

      Reply
  5. Ngeun
    May 31, 2016

    Your posts are awesome Jem. Thanks! So informative and inspiring. We too enjoy a good g&t and the lemon myrtle sounds like a great plant to have around. The tea and iced tea sounds delicious too. PS: Thanks for the nasturtium inspiration. I planted a handful of seeds and considering the season, two have sprouted! Yippee! 🙂

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      May 31, 2016

      Oh that is just fantastic Ngeun! Thanks so much for that. We all need to have a few G&Ts to celebrate the new sprouting in the garden 😄

      Reply
  6. Sam Rutherford
    May 31, 2016

    You crack me up jem hehe. I don’t mind a bit of gin myself 🙂

    Reply
  7. sherry MacKay
    May 31, 2016

    funny you should talk about gin, Jem! did you see my photo of Ink Gin that i bought recently? It is made in Tumbulgum so you can’t get much more local than that. and it smells divine — so floral and it is purple my fave colour. just brilliant.

    Reply
  8. kate
    May 31, 2016

    Mmmmm, G&T. Mmmmm, lemon myrtle. There’s a gin distillery not far from me and its signature gin has a herbaceous flavour, but there’s also a lemon myrtle liqueur that it does. I reckon it would be an interesting addition to any liquor cabinet.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      May 31, 2016

      Wow that sounds amazing Katie. I knew I must have been on to something with mixing my grog with lemon myrtle. Would be very happy to try that one.

      Reply
  9. e / dig in hobart
    May 31, 2016

    how could we judge you? I love a G&T on a hot summer’s evening, so I will be squirrelling away these ideas for … December. basil! lemon myrtle! how extraordinary!! I think mum has a tree – I shall investigate on the weekend.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      May 31, 2016

      I know you have an appreciation for gin! Try it with lemon myrtle and you’ll never look back 🙂

      Reply
  10. The Hungry Mum
    June 5, 2016

    No judgment here! I am totally on the same page. I should grow lemon myrtle 😉

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      June 5, 2016

      LOL same page is good! So is gin! Lemon myrtle will reward you well if you grow it 😄

      Reply
  11. leaf (the indolent cook)
    June 6, 2016

    I find the taste of lemon myrtle so intriguing! I think I’ve only tried it as a flavoured yoghurt. So nice that you have it in your garden!

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      June 6, 2016

      People just love it Leaf. It is the ultimate burst of lemony/ lime flavour 🙂

      Reply
  12. Nagi@RecipeTinEats
    June 7, 2016

    Lemon myrtle and gin sounds unique! I so love the flavor of lemon! Delectable!

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      June 7, 2016

      Very Nagi! Gin is a good accompaniment to any thing really 🙂

      Reply
  13. Gourmet Getaways
    June 10, 2016

    I love lemon Myrtle, we have some growing too! I’ve even dried some and put it in shortbread! I can’t wait to put it in a cocktail.
    Thanks heaps for the idea
    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      June 10, 2016

      It is awesome in shortbread Julie, I’d love your recipe. You are a dark horse with your garden-you’ve got it going on!

      Reply

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