Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tasting history...with myrtle

Alongside our home lies a rather long stretch of myrtle shrubbery. I've always wondered if there was any use for this plant. Just by touch it's extremely aromatic!

So, one day I posted a picture of the shrub to see if I could get an ID. Of course, within a few moments Rebecca dictator at Kings Road Apothecary correctly identified this plant and sent me a great link that I will share with you later in this blog.

Myrtle Hedge
But first, lets talk a little about the background of this ancient plant. 

In the Mediterranean, myrtle is a symbol of immortality and love. The Mediterranean culture considers myrtle an essential plant.

Myrtle was sacred to VenusAphrodite and Demeter!

The use of myrtle dates back to the Egyptians who would use it for sore throats, coughs, and topically to treat muscle pains. 

Learning about the Egyptians use of myrtle led me to researching this plant's medicinal properties. 

Harvested just enough for a test run.
Learning that I could make a great liqueur called mirto was awesome enough but then realizing its medicinal properties really made me fall more in love with this plant. There are so many uses for it, internally and topically.

Here's a list of conditions that myrtle can aide in besides the ones already stated (always take caution if you are using any prescription drugs):

Respiratory infections
Urinary tract disorders
Prevents wound infections
Speeds up healing process
Healthy digestion
Can decrease blood sugar

Now to the mirto making! Rebecca led me to this great blog that showcased a recipe for mirto, a Sardinian liqueur: Hunter*Angler*Gardener*Cook. You must click on that link its what really inspired this blog.

Here is our mirto in the making. 

Used Ketel One vodka. 
Just an hour later. Look at that gorgeous color!
After letting it sit for about over a month, a little longer than suggested. We decided to taste the mirto on my Husband's birthday. 

Before straining it I added some local raw honey to add some sweetness as suggested by Hank Shaw's blog. 

I really cannot emphasize how great the taste was. I felt instantly connected to the history of this plant after my first sip. Very herby and kind of as close as I can get in description because the flavor is new to my palate. Simply divine. 

Next year for the holidays some family and friends just might get a bottle of home harvested and crafted mirto. 

About a month and a half later we have ourselves Mirto! 
Remember mirto is a liqueur that is best used as an after dinner drink and should be sipped to thoroughly enjoy its flavor.

Oh the things you learn along the garden pathway! Oh yeah, side note, having plant loving contacts to ID your plants doesn't hurt either.


  1. <3 it looks and sounds so beautiful!!! Totally gonna find some myrtle and make this year :) :).

    1. Thank you Rebecca! We have a rather long hedge of it. I'll send ya some next season ; )