Episode 3: Food for Thought - Bush Foods

Bush foods are back on the menu!

For thousands of years Australia’s aborigines thrived on the country’s wide variety of flora and fauna. Their diet included lillipilli, kangaroo apples and bush tomatoes – foods which few of today’s Australians are likely to have heard of let alone tasted.

Until the 1990s, only one bush food – the macadamia nut - had been commercially farmed. But now, Australian bush foods are being exported around the world (according to the CSIRO the relatively fledgling industry is earning approximately $14 million a year).

Bush Food Benefits

Some of Australia’s native foods are exceptional sources of antioxidants. Research by Food Science Australia has found some native fruits contain stronger radical scavenging activities than blueberries (which are renowned for their high antioxidant levels). Antioxidants are believed to help protect against heart disease, some cancers as well as other diseases.

The native fruits considered to be exceptional sources of antioxidants are:

Bush Food How To Use It Harvested From
Kakadu plum Can be used to make jams. (Pharmaceutical companies are interested in its rich nutritional properties. Has the highest Vitamin C content of any known food.) Kakadu Wetlands in the Northern Territory
Illawarra plum Sweet flavour can be used in desserts. Coastal areas of northern New South Wales and southern Queensland
Burdekin plum Can be eaten raw, in jams, as a marinade or to make wine. Tropical Queensland and Papua New Guinea
Davidson’s plum Can be used to make jams and wine, as well as flavouring in sauces, ice creams and drinks. Sub-tropical New South Wales and north east Queensland
Riberry Can be used to flavour sweet and savoury foods including ice cream and chocolates. Sub-tropical and tropical Queensland and New South Wales
Finger limes (red and yellow) Can be used in jams, sauces, garnishes and drinks. South east Queensland and northern New South Wales
Tasmanian pepper Use sparingly! Tasmanian peppers are hot! Can be used in pepper grinders and in cooking. Tasmania, eastern Victoria and New South Wales and south east Queensland
Brush cherry Eat fresh or use it in jams. Sub-tropical Queensland and New South Wales
Cedar Bay cherry Eat fresh. Tropical Queensland and Papua New Guinea
Muntries Spicy apple flavour perfect in jams, chutneys, relishes and fruit chews. Southern coastline of Australia
Molucca raspberry Can be used in jams, jellies and pies. Sub-tropical areas

Did you know Captain Cook is believed to have searched for Warrigal Greens (native spinach) after landing at Botany Bay to protect his crew from scurvy?

For more information visit www.cherikoff.net

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