Aug 162009

Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) (Photograph by Bulleen Art & Garden)
A favourite with chefs these days, Lemon Myrtle has moved past the novelty stage and is now widely used due to its outstanding lemony characteristics. The leaves have an exceptionally powerful lemon taste and aroma – “more lemon than the lemon”.

Backhousia citriodora
Common name Lemon Myrtle

Other names historically used: Lemon Ironwood, Sweet Verbena Tree, Sand Verbena Myrtle, Tree Verbena

Leaves can be used fresh, dried or dried & ground. They can be used in a range of products such as chicken and fish, pork and seafood dishes, biscuits, muffins, cheese cakes, hot and cold beverages.

Lemon myrtle essential oil is used in cosmetics, soaps, deodorants and room sprays. The essential oil has been shown to be an antimicrobial agent and has powerful antifungal activities.

The Lemon Myrtle tree (Backhousia citriodora) is a native of Queensland and in not either frost or drought tolerant. Best planted in a sheltered position in Victoria and irrigated over the drier times. A delightfully ornamental tree with attractive foliage and dense white flowers, it is an asset to the garden!

Postharvest handling
• Harvesting should not be undertaken while the leaves are wet, whether from dew, irrigation or rainfall.
• Drying: sun-drying is not recommended. Dry with flow of air, of approx. 35° – 40°C, for up to 4days.
• Removal of soft, new growth on tips is recommended because they compost quickly in the drying process and will cause browning in other leaves.
• Dried leaves should be stored in sealed containers in the dark, at less than 20°C.
• Dried leaves can be milled to coarse or fine particle size

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