Bush food or tucker has sustained generations of traditional Australians for centuries and many of these native plant foods have healing properties too.
Here are our pick of natives to nourish…
Finger Lime is a native citrus prized for its unique caviar-like pulp and colour, which can vary between yellow, green, pale pink and crimson. Finger Lime trees are traditionally found in the sub-tropical rainforests of Northern NSW and Queensland.
The finger-shaped fruit contains glistening ‘citrus pearls’. When bitten, these pearl explode in a juicy sweet, refreshing burst. This fruit is great in drinks and desserts, and may also be used in chutneys, jams and marmalades. Both juice and pulp go well with fresh oysters, fish and calamari.
Black Apple is the largest of all the bush tucker fruits. The actual fruits resemble apples or plums in both size and appearance, and may be eaten raw, direct from the tree when ripe. Native to Queensland and New South Wales, black apples are particularly high in vitamins A + C.
Black Apple is best used fresh, and makes for great pies and crumbles. The fruit can also be used for juice, vinegar or cider. After harvesting, the flavour is predominantly sweet and tart.
These are sour red-fleshed fruits are high in antioxidants and vitamins. Their refreshing tartness works well in both sweet and savoury foods, such as jams, jellies, juices, wines and meat sauces.
These native plums have 100 times the vitamin C found in oranges and also contain lutein, a compound that plays an important role in eye health, along with magnesium, zinc, calcium potassium and manganese! They taste pretty sour by themselves so are best combined with something sweeter. We include them in our ANTIOX tonic shot for their specific healing qualities.
Sea Celery (also called Sea Parsley) is a beachy native that, like young celery shoots, may be used as a flavoursome herb or vegetable. It was eaten by Captain Cook and his crew to prevent scurvy, and regarded as a survival food. Sea Celery can be found growing wild along the southern coastline of Australia.
A close relative of European parsley, this plant adds a peppery zing to any dish, much like the parsley and celery you find in the supermarket. As a coastal plant, growing amidst the sand, salt and composted seaweed, Sea Celery carries hints of ‘ocean’ in its unique flavour. Use it as a garnish, finely chopped or in sprigs, to flavour soups, salads, and chicken and seafood dishes. Stems may be enjoyed fresh or blanched (to temper the strong flavours), while seeds may be used as a condiment or cooking spice.
The leaves of the Lemon Myrtle plant are heavily aromatic and have a characteristic taste. It contains about 90-98% of citral. It also contains minerals like calcium, zinc and magnesium in good amounts, as well as vitamins A and E.
Lemon myrtle is great for enhancing flavour and aroma in many types of sweet and savoury foods. It’s also great for making your own skin care or cleaning products too. We love making a fresh Lemon Myrtle tea.
Sometimes called a ‘native peach,’ quandongs grow in Australia’s semi-arid regions and were prized by Indigenous Australians not only for the tart flesh but also the medicinal properties of its leaves and nut.
High in vitamin C, the fruit can be made into a range of foods including pies, sauces and jams. The nut can also be roasted and ground to make flour.
Not your average tomato, these small sun-dried berries pack an intense flavour punch. Resembling a small cherry tomato with a yellowish hue, they are grown in the outback and then dried. Rich in vitamin C, these berries are best used as a seasoning for meats or in soups and stews. Use sparingly as the flavour is strong!