Must-try trend: native Australian foods

As we revealed yesterday, Australian native ingredients are a hot food trend right now. They also pack quite a nutritional punch. If you missed part one of this two-part series on the health benefits of these unique foods, be sure to check it out. In part one, we focused on savoury bush tucker. Today, it’s all about native fruit and ingredients that are great for adding to your healthy desserts.

Wattleseeds have been used for thousands of years. The ground roasted seeds have a nutty, coffee-like flavour with subtle chocolate and hazelnut notes. They’re also a source of fibre, protein, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium and calcium. Try using ground wattleseeds in baked goods. Or infuse in water to make a syrup or coffee-like drink.

Lemon myrtleLemon myrtle is probably one of the most well-known Australian bush plants. It has a zingy flavour that’s part lemon, part lime and a lovely lemongrass aroma. It also has natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Lemon myrtle leaves are also a source of calcium, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc.

Wild finger lime also known as citrus caviar, this ingredient is really special. It has a finger-like skin and is filled with small crystals, which look like caviar, and that burst with lime juice when eaten. They come in a variety of skin and flesh colours, with each variety having its own distinct flavour. They’re high in vitamin C and potassium, and can be used in a variety of both sweet and savoury dishes.

Kakadu plum Kakadu plum also called the gubinge, billygoat plum or murunga, this plant offers up a plentiful crop of small, plum-like fruits. The fruit is very high in vitamin C. Supposedly holding the world record for highest vitamin C content! Plus, it contains antioxidants, folic acid and iron.

Passion berry is actually a form of wild tomato. The fruits are ripe when creamy yellow, and taste like a mix of banana, caramel and vanilla! There’s little to no nutritional information available on this food but those flavour notes had to be shared! Passion berry syrup is an alternative to maple syrup and would be delicious on pancakes and in baking!

Muntries also known as emu apples or native cranberries, they’re found on the South Coast of Australia. The berries have a sweet flavour, like spicy apples, and contain four times the antioxidants of blueberries. They can be used in sweet or savoury cooking and as a substitute for apples or sultanas.

Lemon aspenLemon aspen is a pale yellow coloured fruit with a star-shaped core. It has a tropical citrus flavour of lemon and spice notes, with a hint of grapefruit-like acidity. →

Australian desert lime is small with an intense, tangy flavour. It can easily replace regular lemon and lime in cooking. The main differences being their smaller size, more intense flavour and lack of peel. Desert limes require no peeling or preparation. They also have three times the amount of vitamin C of oranges.

Quandong is often referred to as the native peach. It has a somewhat tart flavour but contains twice the vitamin C as an orange. You can consume flesh both fresh and dried. Indigenous Australians traditionally used to grind up the kernel for a variety of medicinal purposes. It can be used in a variety of sweet and savoury ways, such as the popular quandong pie.

You can buy native ingredients online at places like The Bush Food Shop and Outback Chef and in some specialty and healthy food stores.

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