Thursday, 28 August 2014

Harvesting And Storing Lemon Myrtle

One of our neighbours has a large Lemon Myrtle tree and recently I harvested some leaves to use in the kitchen.
Lemon Myrtle is a native bush food and has a strong lemon scent that will impart it's lemon flavour when added to foods.  I like to add it to fish, chicken and lamb and it makes a great addition to sweet treats too.  if you don not have a tree nearby you can buy it in the spice section from selected stores.

To prepare the leaves you first need to give them a good wash.  I soak them all in the sink and then pick them out one at a time and use a soft scrubbing brush to give them a gentle scrub on both sides of the leaves. This removes all the dust and spiderwebs that are attached.

I then spread the ones I want to dry out on a towel on top of the chest freezer.  Once they are dry I place them on a tray in the oven and set it to 50 degrees Celsius and dry them out for a few hours then leave in the oven to cool.  This may need to be repeated to get the leaves fully dry.  If you have a dehydrator then you can use that instead.

I do not normally only dry half of the leaves an the rest of them I add to a stock pot and cover with water and simmer covered for an hour.  Once the leaves have flavoured the water I freeze it in takeaway containers.  I use it to add to fruit juice and punch in the summer for a refreshing drink.

Once the leaves are dried I put them in my herb chopping attachment from my stick blender or my food processor, depending on the quantity, and chop the dried leaves until they are as fine as I can get them.  I then use my mortar and pestle to get it really fine.  I just pound it for a bit then sieve out the fine stuff and keep repeating until it is all as fine as you want.

You can then store it in an airtight jar until you are ready to use it.

There are a whole range of recipes online and you can check out some here for ideas.  My favourite is Lemon Myrtle and Macadamia Nut Shortbread and I will post the recipe to that tomorrow.

Have you ever harvested your own lemon myrtle?
Do you ever use it in cooking?


  1. Looking forward to recipe. Yum

  2. Fantastic! Lemon myrtle is one of the things I have planned for our garden (so sad that it's now destroyed!) Love littlekarstar aka Mrs Bok !

  3. Thanks for all the info on Lemon Myrtle, I have one growing and harvested some leaves last week to infuse in olive oil, ready for some soap making at the end of the month.
    I will try the grinding method too and see which one gives the best perfumed soap, it is so fresh and lovely for the warmer weather.


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