Step into a world where rich flavours, traditions, and ecological living coexist. Today, we go on a journey that will improve our appreciation for the various and abundant resources our First Nations peoples have continued to care for 65,000 years.
Indigenous cultures in Australia have long recognised the distinctive culinary and medicinal potential of native plants, valuing their deep connection to the land.
At Warndu, we respect and honour these traditions, seeking to impart their wisdom and inviting you to explore the great assortment of delicious delights Australia has to offer.
What native plants can you eat in Australia?
The answer, many...and here are just a few.
Wattleseed (Acacia spp.)
Wattleseed, a well-known Australian component, is derived from the Acacia species of trees. For decades, these seeds have been a staple meal in Indigenous cultures. Wattleseed, with its characteristic nutty and roasted flavours, can be made into flour to lend depth and richness to baked items, desserts, and sauces. So, why not embrace this Aussie favourite by including Wattleseed into your next gourmet creation?
Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora)
Lemon myrtle is a must-try native plant thanks to its enticing citrous scent and zesty flavour. This versatile herb works well in both sweet and savoury dishes. The dried leaves can be used to infuse drinks, season seafood, enhance sauces, and make delectable sweets. Lemon myrtle is an Australian culinary treasure that will give your cooking experiences a refreshing touch.
Kangaroo Apple (Solanum aviculare)
The vibrant Kangaroo Apple plant not only produces beautiful purple and green fruit, but it also has a distinct flavour. When the fruit ripens, it softens and becomes juicy, making it ideal for chutneys, sauces, and jams. The Kangaroo Apple has also been revered by Indigenous Australians for its therapeutic capabilities, making it a true treasure of our land.
Bush Tomato (Solanum centrale)
Take your taste buds on a journey with the peculiar flavour of the bush tomato. This local ingredient is highly sought after because to its robust, tangy flavour with notes of caramel and tamarillo. It can be used as a seasoning in sauces, stews, and meat dishes, or ground into a spice blend to bring a distinct Australian flavour to your food.
Quandong (Santalum acuminatum)
The quandong is an iconic Australian fruit that Indigenous tribes have consumed for ages. The quandong, with its vibrant red colour and tart, tangy flavour, lends itself to a wide range of culinary preparations. It's great in pies, desserts, sauces, and even as a gourmet garnish for cocktails. Allow the distinct flavour of quandong to bring you to the heart of the Australian bush.
What are native edible plants to grow at home?
Finger Lime (Citrous australasica)
This enthralling native plant, sometimes known as "citrous caviar," has tiny, jewel-like pearls packed with zesty citrous flavour. Finger limes, with their citrus burst of flavour, are ideal for garnishing salads, seafood dishes, or even giving a twist to your favourite drinks. Furthermore, their gorgeous foliage makes them a stunning addition to any indoor or outdoor landscape.
Riberry (Syzygium luehmannii)
These delectable berries have a distinct acidity and sweetness that is evocative of cranberries and cloves. Riberry, which is native to Australia, is a versatile ingredient that can be used to enhance both savoury and sweet recipes. Infuse them in sauces and preserves, or incorporate them into your baking endeavours. Furthermore, the Riberry's glossy foliage and small, star-shaped flowers make it a spectacular addition to any landscape.
Macadamia Nut (Macadamia integrifolia)
This creamy treat hails from the Australian rainforests and is known for its buttery texture and rich, nutty flavour. Macadamia nuts never fail to impress, whether as a snack, sprinkled on salads, or used in luscious desserts. Guess what else? You may grow your own Macadamia tree at home to add a tropical touch to your yard.
Warrigal Greens (Tetragonia tetragonioides)
This leafy green, sometimes known as "native spinach," is a nutritional powerhouse, full of vitamins, minerals, and a delicious tanginess. Its soft leaves can be eaten fresh in salads, added to stir-fries, or even substituted for spinach in your favourite dishes. Warrigal Greens flourish in a variety of growing environments, making them a good choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.
Now that you've learned about these great native food plants, it's time to get your hands dirty and create your own little bit of paradise at home. We not only enjoy the delicious flavours of native food plants when we include them into our life, but we also contribute to sustainable practises and maintain ancient traditions. Embrace our land's beauty, promote local biodiversity, and enjoy the flavours that nature has bestowed upon us.
Happy gardening and bon appétit!
You can learn more about Australia's Native Edible Plants in the award-winning First Nations Food Companion.