Are you looking for a real and authentic Australian experience?
Australia has thousands of national parks and nature reserves to explore, where you can find some delicious bush food.
Learn some tips about bush tucker that will transform your trip into a fun adventure and prevent you from a trip to the doctor.
What is bush tucker?
It’s just another way of calling bush food. The traditional aborigines live off the land; throughout the generations they have acquired the necessary skills to benefit from natural resources. They fully understood that plants could be eaten and when, where to find them and which could be used as medicine.
Bush food will give a special flavor to your meals. Here are some of the plants that we recommend looking for. You can try to recognize them depending on which part of the Australian map you are standing.
Also called as ‘wild mango’. It is one of the most delicious foods I ever tried. It’s a medium tree and its fruit ripen around October and are ready through until December.
Green plums can be eaten raw from the tree or as dried fruit; the plum’s flesh and seed can also be mashed into an edible paste. It is high in protein, dietary fibre, potassium and it is a great source of magnesium, calcium and phosphorous.
If you like to wake up with a tasty smoothie, this is the right fruit to look for. The Kakadu Plum is quite sour and ready when it is soft to touch. It can also be made into jam or sauce.
The fruit are found on the trees at the beginning of April – May and are small, about 1cm long, with a light green in colour.
Red Bush Apple
This fruit will catch your eye, due to its beautiful colour that will stand out among the greens of the landscape. The red bush apple is a really eccentric fruit that you must try, it has a deep flavor. It’s quite sweet but slightly acidic. You can eat the fruits raw or make it into a tea to treat stomach problems.
If you are passionate about tea, you cannot miss the opportunity to try Lemon Myrtle. It has become one of the favourite native foods.
They grow on the east side of The Great Divide, coastal rainforest, northern New South Wales and Queensland. The leaves can be used fresh or dried. Due to its citrus and sweet notes, it is a spectacular option for an exquisite infusion. Its leaves are also used as a flavoring for bread.
Carpobrotus Rossii – MIPs Beach Succulent
You might notice this plant along beach dunes in coastal areas. With its flaming purple flowers, this succulent grows in dry and sandy conditions. Every part of this plant is edible, the flowers, the leaves and even its water. The tangy fruit inside can be eaten raw or cooked. The flavor of its leaves tends to be a little salty and because of this it works perfectly in salads.
Wild Peach, Sweet Quandong
It is a good example of plant food used not only to be eaten, but also known for its healing effects. Wonderful source of vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, calcium, zinc. In addition, it contains twice the amount of vitamin C compared to an orange. It is composed of 25% protein and 70% complex oils. The grains are also used to create powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory pastes.
Seasonality fruit is harvested in the wild or in orchards between August and December. The wild peach is eaten fresh or sometimes pressed into a ball and dried for later eating.
It is considered a wonderful substitute for meat. Its ripe pulp is sweet and beautifully textured, with a balanced slightly sour and salty aftertaste.
Solanum Aviculare – Kangaroo Apple
Solanum aviculare is known as the Kangaroo Apple and is a small to medium spreading shrub. It can be found in Melbourne growing in moist understory bush sites, often around taller eucalypts and watercourses.
Flowers are bluish-violet with a deep violet star-shaped marking at the base and bright yellow anthers. Once the flowers fall away, small, shiny, egg-shaped fruits develop. Initially they are green, then age to orange-red. ATTENTION: UNRIPENED Kangaroo Apples ARE bitter and TOXIC.
The inside of the Kangaroo Apple looks like a cherry tomato; the pulp is juicy and sweet, with a hint of melon flavor. The fruit are eaten fresh, raw or cooked. They can be added to baked goods or used to make jams.
Tasmannia Lanceolata – Pepper Leaf
Grows naturally in the temperate forests of Tasmania, Victoria and southern New South Wales. Both berries and leaf are used as flavourings in food. They have a unique pepper aroma and flavor, which combine very well with sauces and pasta. The berries’ first taste is sweet and fruity then a hot bite. The leaf has a forest flavour and hot bite.
If you are prepared to take a little more time to cook in the middle of nature, this is a good option. You must collect seed pods from the trees when they are ripe, separate the seeds and let them dry on the fire. Then you can crush and grind them until you get some flour, which is mixed with water to make a dough. If you place the dough on hot coals, you will get a tasty cake.
The fully formed green pods can also be lightly roasted to eat the seeds. They are from the legume family and have a pea flavour, a high level of protein, carbohydrates and fibre.
Another fun food to make is to toast the seeds until they pop, similar to popcorn. A perfect plan to admire the nocturnal wildlife as if you were watching a movie.
This native rainforest plant is generally found in the monsoon rainforest and on the riverbanks in the tropics of Western Australia. The plant grows to just over 2m.
The fruit is one of the tastiest bush fruits; with a long cylindrical orange to red pod containing a sweet, fleshy interior and several small seeds.
They can be eaten from the tree or made into salad dressings or condiments.
Native Lemon Grass
This is the most widely distributed species in Australia, found throughout all mainland states. The plant erects to 1m, with highly aromatic blue grey leaves.
The leaves have a strong lemon scent when crushed. The stalks and leaves may be used in tea or as a flavouring agent in soups, sauces, marinades and cakes.
It was traditionally used as an important medicinal plant to treat scabies, join and muscle pain, fever, smoke or vapor bath. Leaves can be steeped to make a tea for a calming effect or to help with digestion and stress.
Of course, we have to list blackberries. As much as it is a food that we all know, we should not miss the opportunity to enjoy them in a delicious smoothie or meal.
Wild blackberries can be found in bushes, parks, pastures and orchards, and on the side of roads across Australia. Choose blackberries that are plump, firm, and uniform in colour. Avoid blackberries that look mushy or wrinkled.
The incredible thing about this bush food is the variety of meals that we can make with it. We can add them to our porridge in the morning as well as include them in a salad to give it a unique taste or simply eat them alone.
Let’s become aware of wildlife
You can also expand your knowledge a little more by browsing the official Australian National Botanic Gardens and research website. I also recommend you this web, where you will find interesting facts about plants.
If you enjoy and love nature, help protect it. The voice of all of us is powerful. If you want to help protect the home of millions of plants and animals, here’s a few links to learn more and take action, it can be signing petitions to the state or donating to bushfire cause.