Native indigenous foods

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Are you one of those people that is always keen to try the latest superfood trend? Well maybe stop thinking about the latest, and go back in time to what the native indigenous population of Australia have been eating for thousands of years!

The following information was taken from The Source Bulk Foods, a nationwide health food store. For all your nutritional needs – you should check them out!

Fruits and Nuts

Kakadu plum: Native to the Top End of Australia, this little plum contains the world’s richest natural source of Vitamin C – 50 times more than an orange. It’s prized for it’s high levels of antioxidants and is used widely in beauty and skin care products. The fruit can be eaten raw, but is also sold in a powder – add it to smoothies, breakfast bowls or protein balls.

Davidson plum: This brilliantly coloured dark blue purple fruit is packed with antioxidants, and is s good source of lutein (essential for eye health), Vitamin E, zinc, magnesium and calcium. As a fresh fruit, the Davidson Plum is very tart, so is often made into jams, sauces and desserts.

Finger lime: One of the most popular Australian native fruits, the finger lime is known as the caviar of the citrus world. The fruit contains hundreds of tiny beads, which release their fresh lemony lime flavour when they burst in your mouth,

Quandong: Sometimes called the wild peach, the quandong is antioxidant rich, with vitamin E, folate and zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron. It’s tart and tangy, and good in relishes, jams and sauces or breakfast blends.

Macadamia: The best known of all of Australia’s bush foods, the macadamia needs no introduction. Creamy, crunchy and full of good fats, the macadamia is one of the most versatile of all nuts and can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways. Try it as is, roasted and salted, honey roasted, coated in chocolate, in your muesli, dukkah, biscuits and slices, pesto or in savoury dishes.

Sandalwood nut: Most are familiar with he fragrant wood of sandalwood tree, but few realise that this tree – native to WA – also produces an edible nut. Like the macadamia, it’s packed with healthy fats, and is delicious when roasted.

Bunya nut: The Bunya Pine is an impressive towering tree, native to NE NSW and Southern QLD, which produce large cones filled with delicious nuts. When cooked they taste a little like chestnuts. They were prized by the local indigenous people for their nutrition, protein and flavour.

Herbs, Spices, Seeds and Teas

Lemon myrtle: Lemonier than lemon, lemon myrtle has the highest level of citral content of any plant in the world. The crushed leaves of the tree are often dried and ground into a spice which can be used to flavour fish, poultry, dressings, sauces, biscuits, cakes or muesli. It can also be enjoyed as a tea, it’s refreshing lemony flavour said to have a calming effect.

Anise myrtle: Traditionally used to settle stomach upsets, anise myrtle has a subtle sweet liquorice flavour that is delicious as a tea. It can also be used in place of aniseed or star anise.

Strawberry gum: Use it in cakes, scones, jams and cooked fruit desserts for a classic berry flavour; Can also be enjoyed as a tea.

Native mint: With a flavour of spearmint, native mint is perfect with lamb, veal, pork and chicken or as a mint sauce. Once considered a medicinal herb, native mint tea reputedly helps to ease colds. The aroma is also said to relieve headaches

Saltbush: Native to the dry inland areas of Australia, saltbush leaves contain natural mineral salts, calcium and protein. It has slight salty, herby flavour that combines well with other bush spices like lemon myrtle. Mix up some dried leaves with oil and rub onto lamb, or use to season vegetables, salsa and seafood.

Pepperberry and pepperleaf: Native pepper is a rich source of Vitamin C and antioxidants. The berries have a sweet fruity flavour with a hot peppery aftertaste (much hotter than black pepper), while the leaves have a more subtle flavour that is perfect in curry blends. Like most bush spices, flavour is quite intense, so a little goes a long way.

Wattleseed: The chocolate hazelnut flavour and toasted coffee aroma of ground wattleseed is perfect for flavouring for breads, cakes, muffins and desserts, as well as savoury dishes like curries. It can also be used as a coffee substitute.

Bush tomato: A relative of the more commonly known tomato, the bush tomato is a desert food, found in central Australia. Rich in minerals and vitamin C, they are similar to a sun-dried tomato, but with a more intense flavour. Use on a cheese platter or in salsa, relishes and chutneys.

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