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Strawberry gum is a eucalypt tree of up to 20 m height. It is native to the eastern part of Australia. Young leaves are ovate and dull green, mature leaves are lanceolate and glossy. The flowers are cream coloured and followed by woody seed capsules. Strawberry gum is also known as forest berry herb or Olida. Its leaves contain large amounts of methyl cinnamate and essential oils. They have a strong aroma of strawberries and balsam. In Australia the leaves of Eucalyptus olida are used as a bushfood spice. While it was once harvested in the wild, it is now grown commercially to meet the rising demand.

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Culinary use of strawberry gum

Strawberry gum leaves are mostly sold dried and ground, often under the name Olida. It can also be used fresh. Strawberry gum tastes slightly sweet and reminds of berries. It goes well with passion fruits, all berries and sweet spices like cinnamon. It is for example used in fruit sauces and jams. The used amount for flavouring is small. For pancakes for example 1/2 teaspoon per 250 ml of milk is sufficient. Strawberry gum leaves are also used in herbal teas, where they give an interesting aroma.

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