If you tell any farmers over the age of 60 that saltbush is now a bit of a delicacy, they would laugh in your face. A bit like the lamb shank, which was once fed to the farm dogs but is now one of the priciest cuts in the butcher’s shop, saltbush was only eaten by the sheep. Alas, it should be eaten by us all – it is wonderful. A huge number of seeds come from the flowering after spring and autumn and they are like little salty popcorn kernels, but were also ground and mixed with water to make dough cooked in coals. We have loads on our farm, as I walk around I just pick it and nibble on it. A bit like the sheep. Note: there are many different species of saltbush. We tend to use old man saltbush the most.
Old Man Saltbush, also known as Bluegreen or Giant Saltbush is a versatile plant and great Bush Food. Adapted to arid conditions with saline soils, Saltbush is native to most parts of Australia. The United Nations Carbon Emission Trading Scheme has identified Old Man Saltbush as assisting with the reduction of greenhouse warming. Indigenous Australians have traditionally utilised the seeds and leaves of Saltbush, which are collected and ground and used in damper and to flavour foods. The leaves were also sometimes eaten fresh or added to meat as it cooked. This dried and ground Old Man Saltbush leaf has been wild-harvested in South Australia, where it grows pesticide-free. It has a soft, salty flavour – slightly earthy – and can be used as a direct substitute for salt as a seasoning or condiment.
◎ Common Name: Saltbush
◎ Scientific or Latin Name: Atriplex spp.
◎ Comparison: Salty and a crunchy seed
◎ Seasonality: All year fresh
◎ Region: Arid
◎ Uses: This spice is featured in these recipes in Warndu Mai
- Saltbush Soda Bread
- Saltbush Salt 'n' Vinegar Crisps
- Warndu's Salt and Pepper Crocodile
- Warndu's Saltbush Soda Bread and Davidson's Plum Jam
- Warndu's Wallaby Shanks
Warndu sells our Saltbush dried and ground, ready for your use at home as a spice.