Make sure your kitchen is stocked with these essential ingredients.
31 May 2013 - 10:37 AM  UPDATED 13 Mar 2017 - 6:11 PM

Burdekin plums

Burdekin plums are closely related to mangoes and can be eaten raw, added to salads or even use to make wine and liqueurs.

Brush cherries

Brush cherries have a pink blush and a crisp, refreshing texture. Eat them fresh or serve in a fruit salad or use to make jams.

Bush cucumber

Bush cucumber is a vine-bearing small, green fruit. It was enjoyed by Aboriginal people for its great flavour and also because it keeps well once picked. It's delicious in salads, relishes and pickles.

Cedar Bay cherries

Cedar Bay cherries have a delicious soft, sweet flesh and range in size from cherry pips to cumquats. These cherries are tasty eaten as they are, but can also be added to sweets.

Davidson's plums

Davidson’s plums grow on palm-shaped trees and have a sharp, sour flavour. This plum is great in sauces, jams and marinades and can also be used to make liqueurs.

Desert lime

Desert lime is a true citrus and has a slightly sour taste and juicy flesh. It looks like a small lemon, with pock-marked rind. Its tartness makes it perfect in jams and marmalades, in marinades for seafood and it is also delicious as a sorbet.

Finger limes

Finger limes (red and yellow) are so-called due to their elongated shape. They have a lovely lime flavour and are full of caviar-like jewels of juice. Use them to make a dressing for seafood, particularly oysters, and add to cocktails.

Illawarra plum

Illawarra plum (also known as Daalgaal and Gidneywallum) has bright purple fruit and a plum wine flavour. Add the plums to desserts, such as tarts or cakes, or use to make jams.

Kakadu plums

Kakadu plums have been identified as the richest source of vitamin C on the planet. That’s 50 times the concentration found in oranges! Use them in jams, syrups and sauces.


Kutjera is also known as the desert raisin or bush tomato and is part of the tomato family. Of the 100 varieties of wild tomatoes in Australia, only six are edible. Kutjera are full of vitamin C and are a rich source of potassium. Kutjera can be made into sauces and relishes, and dried and added to herb mixtures.

Lemon myrtle

Lemon myrtle is a versatile herb with a fresh, lemon-lime flavour. It can be ground and dried or used fresh. It’s perfect for adding to sauces and marinades for a fragrant lift and also works well with sweets, such as cakes and sorbets.


Marsdenia (also known as the bush banana, kurgula, langkwe or myakka) has many edible parts, from the avocado-shaped fruit that tastes similar to snow peas to the stem, young leaves and even the sap. The young leaves are great in salads while the fruit is delicious boiled and tossed with butter, pepper and herbs.

Molucca raspberries

Molucca raspberries look very much like European varieties and have a soft, sweet flesh. As you would regular raspberries, use in jams and sweets.

Mountain pepper

Mountain pepper (also called Tasmanian pepper) is much like regular pepper, however both the pepperberries and the leaves are edible. You can use mountain pepper as you would any other pepper. The dark berries can infuse sauces with a rich, plum colour.


Muntries, also referred to as muntharis, have an apple-like flavour and Aboriginal tribes often ground them into a paste to make into fruit bars. Muntries work well with both sweet and savoury flavours – add them to fruit salads or marinades.

Native thyme

Native thyme can easily be grown in the home garden and can be used as you would regular thyme; however, a little does go a long way, so use sparingly. Add it to marinades, spice rubs and to flavour sauces.

Passion berries

Passion berries are part of the native tomato family but have a sweeter, fruitier flavour than the kutjera. Yellow in colour, the berries taste like a medley of banana, caramel and vanilla. Add them to fruit salads or use to make sweet syrups and jams.


Quandongs are highly nutritious, bursting with twice the vitamin C of an orange. These fruits are delicious in everything from sweet pies to savoury sauces for meats.


Riberry, often called lilli pilli, are small reddish-pink fruits, with a sweetly tart flavour, that are bursting with essential minerals. Add to ice-creams and chocolate treats. It's also great in savoury dishes.

River mint

River mint has a flavour that’s similar to spearmint and was happily embraced by early settlers for its familiar taste. Add to roast lamb or use to make a jelly for roasts.

Salt bush

Salt bush has become incredibly popular in the high-end restaurants of Australia. This nutritional bush has many uses, from salads to stir-fries, and can also be added to pasta dishes.

Sea parsley

Sea parsley (often called sea celery) is a close relation to European parsley and looks incredibly similar. Thriving in composted seaweed and often submerged by salt water, this native parsley has a distinctive sea-fresh flavour. Use it in spice mixtures, dressings and marinades for seafood.

Tanami apple

Tanami apple is another member of the bush tomato, which produces large, golf ball-sized fruit with a melon-flavoured flesh and bitter black seeds. Scoop out the seeds and fill the fruit with cheese and spices before barbecuing.

Wattleseed (acacia)

Wattle is familiar to most Australians, and not all the seeds are edible, but those that are have a range of uses in the kitchen. These protein-rich seeds can be cooked into breads and cakes, added to spice mixtures and rubs, and can even be roasted and added to desserts.


Cooking ideas!
Glossy pearls that zing - native lime packs a punch
It looks a little like fish roe but tastes like citrus: the native finger lime is one of Australia's national treasures.
Blackened mackerel with lemon myrtle and finger lime

"The spice mix on this fish has been used for centuries in Sri Lanka and it is earthy and spicy. Known in Sri Lanka as Ambul Thial, I now serve it in my restaurants as a modern Sri Lankan dish but I couldn’t resist the challenge to introduce some wonderful Indigenous Australian flavours into this dish. The result was two ancient cultures blending harmoniously through food." Peter Kuruvita, Peter Kuruvita's Coastal Kitchen

Braised wallaby shanks

Chef Mark Olive puts an Australian twist on the traditional lamb shank by using wallaby and Australian native spices. Kutjera, also known as desert raisin or bush tomato, is a sweet and tangy native spice that works well in stews like this.

Rolled veal with Warrigal greens pesto

This veal dish uses Warrigal greens that are native to the east coast of Australia, but can be substituted with English spinach. Chef Mark Olive recommends flattening the veal out to 5mm thick with a mallet to make the rolling process easier.