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As you might expect, gum mastic, or “Mastiha” to use its native name, is a sticky, gummy substance. And its unique textural and nutritional properties lend it to so many different types of cooking and food preparation. This natural resin is extracted from the ‘Pisracia Lentiscus’ tree, which grows plentifully on the small Greek island of Chios. While most commonly used as a natural chewing gum, and a key ingredient in ice cream, our natural and organic gum mastic is surprisingly multi-talented. It can be used to flavour pastries, cakes, desserts, jams, preserves and spoon sweets, traditional Greek spirits and liquors, and even cheese. Not to mention it’s health and beauty potency! Gum mastic is a formidable ally for making homemade toothpaste, hair and skin lotions, perfumes and more. See below for tips and recipes.
Impress your family and guests…
Making delicious recipes (like the ones shared on this page) is not the only way to impress your fellow food-loving friends. You can also by showing off your culinary, historic and linguistic sophistication, with this fun fact.
The word “mastic” comes from the Greek verb “mastichein” (or “μαστιχειν”, to use the Greek alphabet). This means "to gnash the teeth" – and “mastic” is actually the origin of our English word “masticate”. And as a secondary (slightly less fun) fact: thanks to the strong influence of Greek on world languages, “mastic” is another word for gum in lots of other languages. Now there’s a little something for everyone to chew over.
Why the hype?
For centuries, gum mastic has been well-known for its rich nutritional profile. It has long been touted for its therapeutic health boosting benefits and is believed to help freshen breath, act as a natural antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent.
This resource details other traditional uses and properties of gum mastic, enjoyed by people across the ages from ancient Europe to modern day UK.
If you’d like to find out even more about gum mastic; botanically, culturally and with intriguing history and philosophy thrown into the bargain, let Kathryn Gauci be your guide. Both the content and style of her writing are really pleasing, and it should help you feel all-the-more educated about this unique tree resin.
3 Tip-Top mastic gum recipes
Another Lebanese treat. This jam not only comes with a humorously long url, but an expert balance of tasty ingredients. Including, we are pleased to add, a number of our most popular whole food gems, like pine nuts, walnuts, dried figs and sesame seeds. To make this mastic recipe a little healthier, we recommend subbing out the sugar for your favourite low GI (or low GL) syrups or sweeteners. Click here for more inspiration.
Need to cool off? Why not take a trip to Yoghurtland? It’s apparently a very real place (online). But beware the decadent perils of milk, cream and lactose! Incidentally, if you are making your own lactose-free (and perhaps healthily sweetened) ice creams, yoghurts or creamy mastic recipes, we’d love to hear from you. So please drop us a message or tag us in your culinary posts!
Another sweet treat and Lebanese tease. With the nuttiness of pistachios, the floral zest of orange blossom water, that savoury rice flavour, and sheer sweet creaminess all mixed I perfect proportions, how could you say no? Well, once again if you are lactose intolerant, please excuse us: creamy recipes are easily the most popular use of gum mastic. But do not despair! Rice milk (and some other substitute milks) will do an excellent job. Just make sure to tweak the amount you use to get your desired consistency.
How do you use mastic gum?
Please let us know your favourite ways of using this special plant extract. Share your culinary creativity with us, and other food lovers across the UK and Europe, by posting your gum mastic inventions on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any social media, and tagging us up!