Wattleseed has the aroma of roasted coffee, sweet spice, raisin and chocolate. In fact it can have many different aromas and flavours similar to coffee depending on the variety and roast. It also has the same mouthfeel as coffee, the same kick as coffee, without the dreaded caffeine crash. With our ever changing climate and an alleged coffee shortage in the coming years, perhaps it's time to create a new coffee ritual? A truly Australian one?
Acacia seeds were very important foods to Aboriginal people; they are extremely nutritious, yielding protein levels of 18-25%, and sometimes high levels of fat too. The nectar that formed sugar like crystals from the trunks and branches of many kinds of Wattles was also eaten as a sweet treat.
Only a handful of Wattleseed is commercially or wild harvested today for consumption. But we hope that will change in time.
Our Warndu Wattleseed spice is Acacia Victoriae and it must be roasted (and ground) before eating or the seeds will literally break your teeth, which is why we have already done that for you. You can use our spice to make a caffeine-free alternative to coffee. Hailing from the Flinders Range, it comes perfectly roasted and ground by hand, ready for your coffee pot.
Also featured in the Warndu range is our Wattleseed Sprinkle known by its latin name of Acacia Courleana. This is the new Australian Native version of a pepita or sunflower seed (by way of sprinkling on everything). Toast in a dry pan until it pops like popcorn and use as a spice or on salads and veggies, in your cereals it’s the new trail mix and it’s a super jam packed wholefood.
◎ Common Name: Wattleseed
◎ Scientific or Latin Name: Acacia Victoriae and/or Acacia Courleana
◎ Comparison: Coffee beans (Acacia Victoriae) or pepita seed (Acacia Courleana)
◎ Seasonality: All year dried
◎ Region: Arid
◎ Taste Profile: Wattleseed has a nutty, roasted coffee aroma, with touches of sweet spice, raisins and chocolate. It has a savoury, nutty, wheat-biscuit flavour.
◎ Types: There are some 1350 species of Acacia found throughout the world and close to 1000 of these are to be found in Australia. Commonly known as Wattle, Acacia is the largest genus of vascular plants in Australia.
We offer Wattleseed in three varieties; roasted & ground, whole-seed sprinkle, and a balsamic vinegar.
Roasted & Ground: Great for baking and cooking or even as an alternative to coffee, made the same way as plunger coffee. All of the lovely mouth feel and flavour of coffee, without the caffeine or afternoon crash.
Whole-seed Sprinkle: We like to call it Wattleseed Sprinkle and think it should be the new pepita or sunflower seed. It comes in a 50g resealable bag and is seriously delicious.
Balsamic Vinegar: Made using wild harvested Wattleseed from the Flinders Ranges, this balsamic champions the nutty, coffee and chocolate flavours of the Wattleseed. Perfect mixed with our oils as a delightful salad dressing, great in baking or drizzled over fruits and ice cream.
- Wattleseed must be considered the unsung hero of Australian native foods, as it is a very rich source of protein.
- Since the 1970s, Wattleseed has been grown in Africa to provide protein to drought-affected populations.
- A low glycaemic food, which releases its sugars slowly and can be used by people with diabetes to help maintain blood sugar levels.
- Wattleseed also contains high concentrations of potassium, calcium, iron and zinc.
Aboriginal & Traditional
A mainstay of the diet of Indigenous Australians for over 40,000 years, Wattleseed was traditionally ground and used to make a type of flour. With a hard husk that protects the seed during long periods of dormancy on the ground, Wattleseed can survive tough weather conditions and historically was a valuable source of protein and carbohydrate in times of drought. Aboriginal women would collect the pods and parch the seeds with fire, before grinding them into flour to be mixed with water and made into cake. These cakes were baked in the coals of a fire and eaten immediately or stored for later use.
In the Central Desert, damper made from native seeds still forms an important part of the Aboriginal diet, though store-bought plain and self-raising flour are now frequently used instead.
Western & Modern
Today, Wattleseed is dried and roasted in a similar way to coffee. It is then ground and crushed to create a powder used in cooking. Roasted ground Wattleseed is a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. It can be used for baking and as a thickening agent in casseroles and sauces.
Wattleseed is one of those iconic central Australian bush foods that is used in everything from pavlova to bread. It flavours sweet dishes such as ice-creams, sorbets, mousse, yoghurt, cheesecakes and whipped cream. It is delicious in pancakes and goes well with breads.
Wattleseed is a great inclusion in anyone’s diet as it has an unusually low glycaemic index which means that the carbohydrates in it are slowly absorbed and therefore better for you than sugary, quick release alternatives. Wattleseed can also be incorporated into foods to lower the overall GI and either just improve its nutritional value or to actually make some food acceptable for people with non-insulin dependent diabetes.
Preparations from at least 30 of the more than 1,200 acacia species in Australia were traditionally used by indigenous Australians for medicinal purposes. The following examples indicate the range of illnesses treated by indigenous peoples in the Northern Territory and Western Australia using different acacia preparations.
- Skin ailments
- Wart removal
- Smoke therapy for good health
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Wattleseed is featured in these recipes in Warndu Mai:
- Warndu ANZAC Biscuits
- Kangaroo Pie with Bush Tomato Sauce
- Strawberry Gum Pavlova with Wattleseed Cream
- Native Spiced Fruit Mince Pies
Warndu Products featuring Wattleseed
Note: The term 'Bush Tucker' and 'Bush Food' are not Warndu's preferred terms for Australian Native Ingredients or Australian Botanicals.
Images: © Luisa Brimble