bush tucker


The voyage of discovery into bush tucker goes on, this time in Tasmania.  The pepperberry is a Tasmanian shrub with deep purple, almost black berries that have a peppery flavour and four times the amount of anti-oxidants that blueberries have.  It can be used in the same way as a conventional pepper but it has an added herbal flavour and can add a beautiful purple colour to the dish. It combines well with lemon myrtle, a bush tucker item that is now reasonably familiar.

 Then there is kunzea,  a plant which in colonial times was known as tick bush because of the numbers of ticks it harboured. But for its new purpose, as a source of a miraculous oil, the botanical name kunzea is a better choice.  It is claimed that the oil gives pain relief from arthritis and rheumatism.

 And then there is wattleseed, the seeds of certain acacias, which can be eaten green or roasted, steamed and ground. Not all acacias have edible seeds but a select few do. Wattleseed has a flavour described as coffee, chocolate or hazelnut and can be used in sweet or savoury dishes.

 Finally there is pickled cunnigong, otherwise known as pig face. The English name comes from the resemblance that colonial settlers saw between the shape of the fleshy fruit, with its two pointed bracts, and the face of a pig with two ears. But perhaps the English name is again off-putting so the plant has resurfaced with its Aboriginal name. Pigface has different names in different parts of Australia. Cunnigong is the Tasmanian name but we are also familiar with karkalla from southern Australia.

Sue ButlerComment