Do you know your Indigenous superfoods?

24 July, 2020

Discovering some of the flavour-packed Australian bush foods

As Australia celebrates NAIDOC Week this month, it’s a perfect time to take a look at some of the Indigenous superfoods that have been used for tens of thousands of years traditionally, but only recently becoming more popular in both home and professional kitchens. Yes, it’s time to look beyond meat pies and sausage rolls as classic Australian foods and instead
look at our home-grown foods. Australia is actually blessed with a wide range of incredibly delicious and vitamin-packed native foods. Let’s take a look at some of the most widely available Indigenous foods and how they can be used.

Some of the most accessible Indigenous superfoods

Prior to colonialization, Australia had been inhabited for at least 40,000 years. So of course it makes sense that there’s a huge range of Indigenous foods that were eaten. And now, Australians are increasingly recognising the rich food environment right here on our doorstep. Just some of the native foods that you can readily find and enjoy experimenting with include:

  • Kakadu plum: Kakadu plum is wild grown and harvested by Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Rich in vitamin C and jam packed with antioxidants, it’s a true homegrown superfood. You can buy Kakadu plum powder online or from The Source Bulk Foods.
  • Finger limes: Literally shaped like fingers, these native limes are known for their little pearls of flesh that pop in the mouth like caviar. Finger limes can be used just like normal limes or lemons would be used for garnish, and are especially good with fresh seafood. You can sometimes find finger limes in your local greengrocer, or they are easy to grow at home either in your garden or in pots.
  • Warrigal greens: Spinach is so old-fashioned, right? The local alternative of Warrigal greens give you that same green-goodness and are fantastic in omelettes and stir fries.
  • Lemon myrtle: Great as a tea, lemon myrtle leaves give a lemony pop to your foods. It’s fantastic in desserts or can pair well with fish and chicken dishes.

Other native foods to look out for include bush tomatoes, quandong (wild peaches), Davidson plums, pepper berries, sea parsley and of course, native animals too like kangaroo, crocodile and wallaby. Of course, macadamias are native to Australia too and are widely available, and wattleseed is also a popular addition to desserts, pairing well with chocolate.

Where to learn more bush foods around Chatswood

Willoughby Council sometimes holds bush tucker workshops, including how to identify native plants – subscribe to their events page to keep informed of future workshops. The Gai-mariagal Festival, which aims to build awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in the Northern Sydney region, is also a fantastic source of information and usually holds events in the community between late May and July each year. This year, as part of the festival, You can also follow the Aboriginal Heritage Office for talks, walks and events about Aboriginal culture across the northern Sydney region.

Are bush foods being used in Chatswood restaurants?

Native Australian ingredients aren’t currently being widely used in restaurants across Chatswood, but we think it’s only a matter of time. Before she closed her restaurant Billy Kwong, chef Kylie Kwong was pioneering the use of native Australian ingredients, finding that many paired perfectly with classic Asian dishes and cooking styles. This included using Warrigal greens in place of Asian spinach and saltbush as a replacement for shallots or scallions.