Lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) is a native Australian shrub (basically a flowering plant) that grows on coastal areas of New South Wales and southern Queensland – we forage our lemon myrtle from North Bondi, NSW!
The shrub itself grows up to 3m tall with large hanging branches of soft green leaves and in autumn feathery fragrant cream flowers.
Lemon myrtle leaf can be used fresh or cool dried – to prevent the loss of excess oils. As the name suggests, it is heavily aromatic and has a creamy sweet lemon lime taste. It contains about 90-98% of citral and also contains minerals including calcium, zinc and magnesium as well as vitamins A and E.
The oil from the leaf has antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties and is often used in good quality natural shampoos, therapeutic body lotions, soaps and household cleaners. The oil has also been shown to repel fleas and features in some chemical-free pet shampoos. Lemon and citrus aromas are recognised as instilling a feeling of freshness and cleanliness and are said to be uplifting and cheering for the soul.
How to use!
Lemon myrtle is super versatile and you can find recipes that use it in marinades and salsas, cheesecakes and roasted meats and vegetables! We love lemon myrtle’s characteristic taste paired with chocolate – see our signature cacao energy ball with lemon myrtle recipe below – try not to eat them all at once!
Cacao energy ball with lemon myrtle powder
150g mixed pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds (toasted if preferred)
35g desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
25g cacao powder
75g chia seeds
50g rolled oats (omit for gluten-free)
5g / pinch sea salt
80g virgin coconut oil
180g soft fresh dates (roughly 16 dates) pitted
100g nut butter (we love using a combination of tahnini and cashew butter but peanut butter also works great)
60g raw cacao nibs
dried lemon myrtle powder to dust
Blitz all the ingredients (except for lemon myrtle) in a food processor until combined (the more you blitz the smoother the ball will be). Once processed roll into small balls – we think ‘2 bites’ sized is best. Then roll in lemon myrtle powder till the balls have a thin coating. Store in fridge and enjoy!