The myrtle leaf, having originated from the Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts, has a very unique flavor that is worth experiencing. It yields notes of a spicy bitterness and creates a wonderful aroma when crushed or heated. Using myrtle leaves as a seasoning can broaden one’s palate and allow them to enjoy a variety of delicious meals.
The myrtle leaf has a flavor that is similar to Allspice with a hint of menthol. The savory leaves are used to add zest to an array of dishes and are often used as a bay leaf substitute. Although used worldwide, its flavor and origin make it a popular Mediterranean seasoning.
Cooking with Myrtle Leaf
If you are looking for a way to add some life to your familiar cooking methods, utilizing dried myrtle leaves is the answer. They are commonly added to liven up meats, soups and stews, as well as vegetables. This spice pairs well with other select seasonings such as garlic, thyme, and fennel.
You will find that there are many great cooking uses for myrtle. Take a look at these tips for using myrtle so you can get a head start on experimenting with this herb:
- Pork, Beef, Poultry, Fish: Flavoring meat with myrtle leaves is one of its most popular uses. Add the leaves to broiled, grilled, boiled, or roasted meats. Myrtle can be stuffed within meats for a stronger flavor but should be removed before serving. If using a coal-fueled grill, try sprinkling the leaves over the coal for a smoked myrtle flavor.
- Soups and Stews: Toss myrtle leaves into your next soup or stew creation, they will add an incredible flavor. It is an especially good spice for beef stew and other common dishes. The myrtle leaf releases its flavor best during slow cooking. Simmering the leaves for long periods of time would be appropriate to extract their full flavor.
If you would like to also have bay leaves on hand in addition to myrtle leaves, try our Mediterranean Bay Leaves. They also offer a slight bitter taste with notes of nutmeg, clove, and camphor.
A Brief History of the Myrtle Leaf
From ancient Greek mythology to current royal weddings, the myrtle leaf has made its mark in history. Here are just a few interesting facts about the myrtle leaf:
- Myrtle, also referred to as Myrtus Communis, originated in the Mediterranean region of the Middle East and has since been used for culinary purposes as well as medicinally.
- Myrtle is historically a very significant plant. The bible references it numerous times, as does ancient mythology.
- Queen Victoria began a royal tradition that set a standard for including the myrtle tree leaf in wedding bouquets as far back as 1858.
Spice Cultivation and Production
The myrtle plant or shrub consists of reddish-brown bark, oval leaves, white flow
ers, and seeded berries that are blue to black in color. It can grow up to 16 feet high at a very slow pace. The flowers typically bloom in late summer with the berries ripening in fall or early winter.
The myrtle plant prospers in cool climates with full sunlight. It requires less fertile soil with good drainage, and its water requirement is low to medium. Harvesting begins by gathering the leaves and berries, and production follows shortly after.
About Our Myrtle Leaf
Burma Spice sources its myrtle leaf from a family owned and operated farm in the Giresun Province of the Black Sea Region of northeastern Turkey. The owner is following in the footsteps of his father, and his father before that, enabling the family to ope
rate with experience, as well as pride.
Turkey is a prime location for agriculture with 64.6 million acres of land capable of producing thriving crops. Additionally, this region’s adequate soil and resources, along with the climate typical of this area, allow for growing superior myrtle.