Australian chefs have been exploring this countrys native bush foods for decades, while indigenous Australians have been aware of their many wonderful flavours and properties for over 40,000 years.
Incorporating fruits and flowers from Australias lush rainforests, herbs from the verdant woodlands and fruits and seeds from our expansive deserts, these foods are often highly nutritious and can be used in a wide variety of ways.
The use of bush foods has grown past the idea of bush tucker made famous in the 1980s and 90s, and today includes some stunning applications of brilliantly different tastes, flavours and presentations.
Dishes are limited only to the imagination, but could include such unique Australian combinations as barramundi with munthari berries, lemon myrtle bavarois, wattle crème brulee and lemon aspen vinaigrette.
Experiment by adding one or more of these ingredients to your favourite recipes, and discover some unique flavour combinations of your own.
Each The Essential Ingredient store stocks a selection of Australian native bush foods, some of which are listed below.
Contact your nearest store for information on specific items.
Native tomatoes with strong tamarillo and caramel flavours. These dried, peanut-sized tomatoes can be easily reconstituted and added to chutneys, sauces and stews. They are high in protein and fat.
Ground bush tomato, easily mixed into salad dressings, bread dough, cheese dishes or combined with butter.
Green, olive-sized fruits with a mild apricot, peach and white wine flavour. They are very dry and astringent when eaten raw, but contain a higher level of vitamin C than any other fruit in the world. Cut the flesh from the seed, combine with honey or sugar, and serve with red meat or seafood.
Wild Rosella Fruit
A striking red flower berry with an acidic rhubarb-like taste. A beautiful inclusion in chutney, jam, pie-fillings, ice cream, sorbet, pastries and fruit stews.
Commonly referred to as native cranberry, these small green and red fruits have a crisp Granny Smith apple flavour and are ideal in sauces, pies and flans.
High in fat but cholesterol free, these nuts can be blended into nut butter or a thickening agent, or can be chopped as a topping on cakes and desserts. Of course, they can also simply be eaten as they are.
Usually roasted and ground, Wattleseed Suggests coffee, chocolate and hazelnut flavours. Boil briefly in water, then use the grounds as a crumb or in a marinade, and the liquid extract in ice cream, pavlova, pancakes, bread or in your favourite chocolate recipe.
Paperbark is less of an ingredient and more of a useful cooking tool, used to wrap fish, lamb or other meats and imparting a smoky flavour when cooked. Should be soaked before using.
Available either as an oil or in dried whole leaves, lemon myrtle produces an aroma blend evocative of lemon grass, lemon and lime oil. Dilute the highly-concentrated oil in vegetable oil and brush over cooked fish prior to serving, or use to season soups or desserts. Alternatively, spray a small amount on biscuits and cakes straight from the oven to create a mouthwatering explosion of scent.
Use the dried variety to flavour soups, sauces, fruit stews, pickles, fish and herb butter. Use sparingly, and add late in the cooking process to protect the full character of the flavour.
Available as a whole leaf or a dried powder, pepperleaf is used in a similar manner to bayleaf, but has a burst of heat that should be used sparingly.
A wonderfully unique peppermint flavour that can be infused into butter, custards, mousse, bavarois, sauces and pastries.
Has a flavour well suited to custards, ice cream, rich meat sauces, marinades or as a splendid tonic tea.
The Essential Ingredient also stocks a wide variety of Australian-produced products and ranges. Find more information here.