New healthy food trend! Why we love Australian native ingredients

Australian bush foods are having a major moment right now, popping up on the menus of many luxe restaurants and even appearing in challenges on MasterChef Australia. Many have exotic names and can be a little tricky to locate. However, you can buy them online at places like The Bush Food Shop and Outback Chef and in some specialty and healthy food stores. It’s definitely worth trying to get your hands on these intriguing foods, which are making their mark for their diverse and unique flavours, colours and nutritional benefits.

In this two-part series I’ll be giving you the lowdown on some bush tucker staples and taking a closer look at their health benefits. Today, we’re focusing on savoury ingredients. Make sure you log on tomorrow to check out the sweeter side of things!

Bush tomato

Mountain Pepper

This is just like black pepper, but with less heat. It’s the dried and ground leaf of a rainforest shrub traditionally harvested from Tasmania and New South Wales. It’s high in antioxidants, and the Tassie leaves are also a source of vitamin E, vitamin A, magnesium, zinc and calcium.

Bush Tomato

Also known as ‘Kutjera’ or desert raisin, this has a rich, spicy tomato flavour with slightly sweet caramel-like notes. It’s high in iron, a good source of zinc, magnesium, calcium and selenium.

warrigal greens

Warrigal Greens

Also known as Warrigal Spinach, New Zealand Spinach or even Botany Bay Greens. This was one of the first native Australian vegetables to become popular with European settlers. Looking for ways to fight scurvy, the story goes that Captain Cook encouraged his men to eat them and many convicts owed their lives to the spinach-like plant.

Herbs

We also have a beautiful range of native basil, thyme, sage, sea parsley and river mint. These all provide fragrant variations to the regular varieties.

Image credit: Thinkstock and onlyfoods.net