The uniquely Australian Bush Apple
These golf ball–sized apples come in beautiful scarlet colours. The fruit has a large seed, but the flesh is soft and tart. We love them fresh, sliced in salads or just eaten like an apple (but navigating the seed). They can also be frozen whole for later use or dehydrated.
Syzygium forte, commonly known as white apple, is a tree of the family Myrtaceae native to Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Also known as bush apple, it has been farmed in several parts of the world to produce and manufacture oral contraceptives, using extracts from the young leaves and green fruits.
It is found along watercourses in the Kimberley region of Western Australia where it grows in soils over sandstone. It is also found in rainforest areas in the top end of the Northern Territory and in the Cape York Peninsula and North East areas of Queensland as well as in New Guinea.
◎ Common Name: Bush Apple, Lady Apple, White Apple
◎ Scientific or Latin Name: Syzygium forte
◎ Comparison: Granny Smith Apples
◎ Seasonality: All year frozen
◎ Region: Tropical
◎ Taste Profile: The texture is different to an apple; not crisp, it’s more like a pomegranate. Bush Apple has a lightly sweet flavour, almost perfumed with a rose-like flavour and a real tartness.
◎ Types: There are approximately 450 varieties of Syzygium, many Australian but most overseas. These vary in colour, size, and shape, and can be mixed together when cooking for flavour variety.
- This is a great example of a food source and medicinal plant for many Aboriginal clan groups.
- A source of Vitamin C in the native diet, the Australian Bush Apple is a vibrant cross between a pomegranate and an apple.
Aboriginal & Traditional
Bininj/Mungguy eat the fruits raw and use the juice of the cooked apple to sooth sore throats, coughs and chest congestion.
The leaves are made into a tea to treat stomach problems, while heated leaves can be applied to wounds to stop bleeding and swelling.
Western & Modern
Bush apples are mostly used fresh in salads or as snacks. This outback flavour creates a uniquely Australian flavour sensation. They can be frozen or dehydrated, and more recently have begun to feature in some high-end restaurants as a unique desert ingredient.
There are no know medicinal uses associated with this plant.
Note: The term 'Bush Tucker' and 'Bush Food' are not Warndu's preferred terms for Australian Native Ingredients or Australian Botanicals.
Images: © Luisa Brimble