An iconic tree throughout the Northern Territory. Boabs (Larrkardiy) produce large fruits around 10 cm in diameter. The inside has a chalky nut that tastes a little like sherbet and is amazing crushed and sprinkled on food. Excellent fresh but can also be frozen.
Endemic to Australia, Boab occurs in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, and east into the Northern Territory. It is the only baobab to occur in Australia.
◎ Common Name: Boab, Larrkardiy
◎ Scientific or Latin Name: Adansonia gregorii
◎ Comparison: Chalky sherbet
◎ Seasonality: All year powdered
◎ Region: Tropical
◎ Taste Profile: It has a chalky texture and is sour, the flavour being a combination between lemon, sherbet, powdered milk and with an earthy undertone, similar to cream of tartar.
◎ Types: Boab trees are in the Adansonia genus, with 8 species in total. The Australian species is Adansonia Gregorii, named in honour of Augustus Charles Gregory, an English born Australian explorer.
- Boab fruit has six times more vitamin C than oranges, and twice as much calcium as milk.
- It is also rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and PP.
- It is loaded with minerals like phosphorus, iron, sodium, zinc, magnesium and potassium.
- Boab fruit is full of dietary fibre (soluble and insoluble) and amino acids.
Aboriginal & Traditional
For thousands of years our iconic Boab trees have provided Indigenous people with food, shelter and medicine. The tree is symbolic of Australia’s north-west and its fruit is now on the menu at some of Australia's top restaurants.
The plant has a wide variety of uses; most parts are edible and it is the source of a number of materials. Indigenous Australians obtained water from hollows in the tree, and used the white powder that fills the seed pods as a food. Decorative paintings or carvings were sometimes made on the outer surface of the fruit. The leaves were used medicinally.
Western & Modern
The most common use of the Boab tree is as bush tucker. It can be crushed up and added to water to make a tangy, refreshing drink, or can be added as a thickener for soup.
The roots of saplings can also be eaten and have a pleasant crispy texture. More fibrous parts of the roots can be chewed to extract moisture. The young leaves can be used as a leafy vegetable or in salads, and are increasing in popularity due to their high iron content.
You can also grind the Boab nuts to create a powder that can be added to cakes or muesli, iced teas, and even Boab ginger beer.
The market for Boab nut products is growing steadily, with scientists reporting on its health benefits. It is high in vitamins, iron, potassium and calcium.
The health benefits of Baob are said to include:
- improving digestive health
- supporting the immune system
- general hydration and skin health
- reducing fever
It is reported to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, antidiarrheal, antiviral, and antioxidant properties, and to be useful in treating or preventing anemia and asthma.
However, more research is needed on the consumption and effects of Baob.
Note: The term 'Bush Tucker' and 'Bush Food' are not Warndu's preferred terms for Australian Native Ingredients or Australian Botanicals.
Images: Photo copyright credits of Andrew Fielke, Brolly Books & Tony Lewis from ‘Australia’s Creative Native Cuisine’.