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Myrtle Berries

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Close-up of two flowers on a myrtle bush

Myrtus communis

We like pretty things in our garden but they get extra points if you can eat them too. That’s why we are experimenting with a myrtle (Myrtus communis) hedge at the front of the house. It is evergreen, fragrant, produces beautiful white flowers (above) and you can eat the berries.

I probably left the harvesting a bit late and the plants are only young so did not get a bumper crop. However, I figured that twelve berries would probably be enough to use. I tried them last night in a white sauce to accompany butterflied pork loins, boiled potatoes, thinly sliced spring onion and red pepper and parsnip crisps. The berries were warmed in the milk I was going to use and I ended up throwing milk and berries in with the roux (along with some tomatoe purée for colour).

The berries did impart a pleasant though subtle flavour although, I have to confess, the white sauce was probably the least successful part of the meal. It tones down flavours and I probably would have done better with a combination like mulling them in white wine and then combining that with an onion fried in the pork pan juices. Still, next year I hope we will have a more bountiful harvest and I will be able to experiment with several ideas.

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