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The Most Delicious Bush Tucker Plants to Grow

The Most Delicious Bush Tucker Plants to Grow

For more than 65,000 years, native bush food plants (aka bush tucker) have been part of Australian first nations’ diets, stories, connection to country and cultures. These plants have been used for flavour, nutrition, medicinal and ceremonial purposes, and collected and prepared by communities in local natural environments.

More recently, there’s been a rise in popular usage both in Australia and internationally, of the likes of desert limes, bunya nuts, riberries, midyim berries, Warrigal greens, Kakadu plum, wattleseed and lemon myrtle to name a few. More and more people are beginning to enjoy these delicious Australian plants; there’s also been a development in their production into somewhat of an industry.

The experience of these unique flavours and learning to grow them for ourselves can foster awareness of these bush delights that have been local to us the whole time – the environments that they naturally grow in; the Indigenous cultures that have foraged for and prepared them before our time; the growth in knowledge of nutritional profiles of local gems; a pause to reflect on how a growing industry might engage Indigenous communites. 

Trying your own hand at growing – and seeing if your environment of balcony, courtyard or backyard will do the trick of nurturing these natives – can be a fun, rewarding and not too difficult endeavour! A little bit of research into what plants are suited to your area and what well-drained organic soil is best to use, will go a long way; try some of our suggestions below and enjoy the experience!

Midyim Berry (Austromyrtus Dulcis): This small plant offers white and purple speckled berries that are perfect to put in smoothies, fruit salads and muffins. For them to grow they need to be in a sunny spot.

Old Man Salt Bush (Atriplex Nummularia): The leaves on this lush green plant are perfect in salty and savoury dishes, in particular salads. Best of all, this plant is extremely adaptable so it can grow easily across various regions.

Finger lime (Citrus Australasica): This shrub grows primarily in sunny and warm climates. The thick cucumber-like fruit it produces is filled with tiny clear pearls that taste like lime juice, so it is often used in salads and garnishes.

Warrigal Greens (Tetragonia Tetragonioides): This fresh green plant is the perfect spinach alternative. It is high in vitamin C and antioxidants, so it keeps you glowing all year long. It grows in warmer regions.

Queensland Davidson’s Plum (Davidsonia Pruriens): This plant grows best in warmer regions where there is plenty of sun. The fruit it provides tastes quite bitter, so it is often just used in jams or preserves.

Red Back Ginger (Alpinia Caerulea): This lush green leaved plant grows best in a bright sunny spot. The berries it offers quite resemble blue berries, but don’t be fooled because these berries taste like mild ginger instead of sweet.

Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia Citriodora): The leaves on this plant are enjoyed in both sweet and savoury dishes. However, it also has many healing properties as it can be used to treat sores, cuts, and burns. It grows to its potential in frost-free regions as it needs heaps of sun.

Native Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon Ambiguus): It resembles green grass, and the fine leaves are lemon scented which can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. It prefers to grow in a warm and sunny spot and once its established it can grow tall up to 2m.

Macadamia Beaumont (M. integrifolia x M. tetraphylla): This plant takes four to five years to grow so it requires a lot of patience. However, once it has grown it will form the most delicious macadamia nut that just fall off the tree when they are ripe.

Geraldton Wax Jambinu Zest (Chamelaucium Uncinatum): This plant grows best in autumn but once flourished both the leaves and flowers can be consumed. It is often used in desserts and savoury dishes as it has a zesty lemon taste to it.

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