Bunya Nuts. I have never heard of them until I moved to a beautiful small town called Amamoor. There is state forest here just up the road. When we moved here, we explored the bush walks nearby. There is a bunya pine tree featured on the Amama walk. You can see the footholds that were carved so long ago to make climbing up this tree easier. It is a magnificent tree.
I took the kids out on an afternoon adventure recently. We were supposed to be looking for platypuses in the creek but instead collected Bunya Nuts and cicada shells! So, what to do with our Bunya Nut bounty?
A friend introduced me to eating Bunya Nuts years ago. She told me that we should collect some Bunya cones and she would show me how to cook the nuts inside. We drove out in my little Subaru into the forest. It was an abundant year and there were cones everywhere! These cones are spiky. I found that out by experience. If they are intact, heavy as well. We did get a little carried away that day. My car boot was full of big Bunya cones. My friend did take some cones to Brisbane to share with her friends so the bounty was enjoyed by many. Which is how it was way back when. Aboriginal tribes would put aside their differences and gather together to enjoy Bunya Nut feasts.
The way I was taught to cook these nuts was to boil them in water with a pinch of salt added. After a couple of hours, the hard nut shell splits at the top. This makes it easier to slice the nuts in half and pick out the kernel inside. I then use these in a stir fry or add them to a curry. I have also eaten these fried in butter and garlic. I’m not a big fan of eating them plain – I find them a bit bland and prefer eating them with other ingredients.
Here are some other ways to enjoy Bunya Nuts. I have an interesting book called Wild Lime, Cooking from the Bushfood Garden. These ideas are from there.
- Boiled Bunya Nuts pureed with a little cream are a good alternative to traditional starches such as potatoes or rice (you will need a heavy duty food processor). Add Bunya Nuts to casseroles instead of potatoes or serve creamed Bunya Nuts instead of mashed potatoes.
- Use ground Bunya Nuts in place of almond meal in a cake.
- Add some interest to your next fudge by adding some Bunya Nuts.
Make a Bunya Nut and Bacon Stuffing
- 1 tablespoon (25g) butter
- 1 diced onion
- 3 rashers diced bacon
- 1 1/3 cups or 15 (225g) Bunya Nuts, boiled and shelled
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- 3/4 cup (80g) grated cheddar
- 2 x 55g eggs beaten
- Heat the butter in a medium sized frypan.
- Add the bacon and onion, cook until tender.
- Finely chop the bunya Nuts and place in the pan.
- Add the salt, pepper and grated cheese, stir until the cheese melts.
- Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the eggs. Allow the stuffing to cool before using.
You can use this stuffing to fill cut chicken breasts or stuff a turkey.
Google ‘Bunya Nut recipes’ and you will be be amazed at what you can do with Bunya Nuts. There are some creative cooks out there! Here are some recipes that I would love to try out and I thought I’d share them with you. .
Bunya and Macadamia Nut Burgers (this one involves a bit of work but sounds yummy!)
Chocolate Bunya Nut Cake (didn’t find many cake recipes so Yay, for these two!)
Bunya Nut Pesto (because I have loads of basil in the garden)
Bunya Nut Pesto (included this one because it had cream and was featured at the Gympie show….I love cream and I live near Gympie!)
Wow! So many different Bunya Nut recipes to help me enjoy my Bunya Nut bounty. Yum-Yum!
Now over to you, I would love to hear your Bunya Nut recipes. Please feel free to share in the comments below.
Like to read more about the Bunya Pine? Check out this informative article by Byron Joel and posted on Permaculture News.
If you would like to try and grow your own Bunya Pine, (and you have a massive garden!) there are some helpful tips here.