When international chefs, such as taste trail blazer Rene Redzepi, learn about Australia’s wealth of bush tucker they go green with envy.
Coming from countries where most of the flavours have been tried and tested for centuries, it’s like having a magic box of new toys to open and explore.
With the organic superfood obsession sweeping across the nation, it’s a wonder that more of us haven’t foraged in our own backyards for some natural flavours like Wattle Seed, Lemon Myrtle and Quandong, also known as the desert peach.
Bush tucker is coming to backyards
Well, look out world, because these flavours are now coming to a backyard near you. Perhaps it’s yours? It’s time for the daisies and begonias to move over for Finger Lime and Midyim Berries, muntries and black plum.
Look out for Tucker Bush’s Samphire at your local nursery. You’ll have seen this on menus as sea asparagus. It’s salty and high in vitamin A, but the young green shoots are delicious sautéed or blanched and tossed with lemon and olive oil. Goes beautifully with seafood or salads and is best in summer. Try it in a pot in full sun as it is drought tolerant.
Bush food on the menu
Finger Limes grow well around south east Queensland and come in a variety of colours. Add them to a glass of champagne, and they will do a little dance for you. The flavour also matches well with oysters, calamari and fish. It’s a thorny bush so be careful when you pick the ripe fruit which is about the size of your thumb, depending on how big your thumb is!
I recently tried Cape Byron Distillery’s Slow Gin which is macerated with Davidson Plums plus a good deal of sugar to create a drink I happily consume as a dessert alternative. The plums taste a little sour, and the fruit grows directly on the trunk of the tree.
My Lemon Myrtle tree got left behind growing strongly at my previous house. The leaves have an intense lemon fragrance, and it grows throughout the subtropical forests of south-eastern and central Queensland. Use the leaves in tea, ice cream, biscuits, cakes, or dips. If you can distil the oil from the leaves, it makes a wonderful scent for bath products and is said to have anti-fungal properties.
These are just a few of the culinary additions that can boost your backyard. Happy planting.
Where to find it?
Find out more about these native plants at Tucker Bush. tuckerbush.com.au
Disclaimer: Just sharing food love here.