Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday's Herbal Tisane -- Lemon Myrtle

Lemon Myrtle

One of the shop's best sellers. Among those who drink Lemon Myrtle on a regular basis, there are reports that folks have gone years without catching a cold or stomach flu, though those around them my have suffered. It is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and said to even be able to fight free radicals. Lemon myrtle also acts as a bronchodilator, opening up the breathing passages of your lungs. Oh ... and it's delicious. Like things sweetened a bit? With just a touch of honey it's like drinking lemon drops.

Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) is a native Australian tree growing naturally from Brisbane to Rockhampton in a range of altitudes from 50 to over 800 m above sea level. The Sunshine Coast and Proserpine area are identified as main areas of natural strands.

Lemon Myrtle is a superb tea product as a herbal infusion as well as a delicate flavoring in specialty tea blends when blended with black, green or herbal teas. Lemon Myrtle tea has enjoyed huge success in international tea markets. The superior flavor profile of lemon myrtle as well as its appeal as an alternative to lemongrass has resulted in its success as a tea product.

Lemon Myrtle essential oil has been used for many years as an aromatherapy product by world leading aromatherapists. It is also an essential oil ideally suited for blending, as well as vaporization used in a misting spray or oil burner, as a refreshing, uplifting, room fragrance. Soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, lip balms, perfumes, body scrubs, shower gels, are all now available with natural Australian Lemon Myrtle essential oils.

Its use as a flavoring agent in cooking is limited primarily to Australian cuisine, but lemon myrtle is slowly taking hold in regions around the globe where it has migrated, particularly in the southern portions of Europe and the United States, and South Africa.

The lemon myrtle tree is generally petite but can occasionally attain a height of over 60 feet (20 meters). The fragrant leaves, which are 2 to 5 inches (5 to 12 centimeters) long, are dark green, glossy, and lance-shaped. The small, cream-colored flowers of the lemon myrtle grow in clusters at branch tips throughout the summer season.

Lemon myrtle trees are also grown in regions of China and Southeast Asia, where the spice leaf is prized for its essential oil, which is used for both culinary and medicinal applications. The taste is bright and citrusy, with a pronounced lemon flavor. The leaves may be used either fresh or dried. Dried leaves of good quality have an intense flavor that may rival the flavor of fresh leaves.

Because the flavor of lemon myrtle resembles that of the citrus fruit so closely but lacks the fruit's acidity, it is especially useful in recipes that are milk- or cream-based. It imparts a strong lemony flavor and won't cause dairy products to curdle. On the other hand, it is unsuitable for extended cooking times, as the lemon flavor begins to dissipate and a strong eucalyptus flavor can begin to emerge. For this reason, lemon myrtle is more successfully used to flavor cookies, ice creams and sorbets, pasta, stir-fries, fish, and grilled meats than foods requiring longer cooking times, such as roasts and dense cakes.

In addition to its use in prepared dishes, lemon myrtle is a good choice to add flavor to spice rubs and marinades for poultry and fish, flavored vinegars, salad dressings, and dips. It can even be used as a flavoring agent in hot or iced tea.

Here's a link to a great recipe for gluten-free lemon myrtle macadamia nut muffins,

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