I recently wrote about the Bush Foods Workshop I attended (run by Graeme White from Witjuti Grub Bushfood Nursery), where I learned about Davidson plums, myrtle trees, and finger limes. During this session, I also learned some fascinating information about the Bunya Nut Tree, which I wanted to take some time to share with you today!
Bunya Nut Trees grow in our local area. I used to ride my bike through the state forest where these trees are.
The first time I saw the nut cones along the road (some broke open from falling at a great height from the tree), I was curious. A friend helped me load up the boot of my car with these nuts (beware the cones are spiky!) and showed me how to eat them. You can boil them in salted water for an hour, which makes them easy to get out of their shell.
Eating them on their own, they taste like a soft waxy nut with a subtle sweetness. I like adding them to stir fries, as they add texture to the dish and a remind me of a soft water chestnut. One recipe I would like to try is Bunya Nut and Leek Soup.
An interesting fact that Graeme taught us about the nuts is that they taste quite sweet when the cones are taken straight off the tree but, when the cones have fallen to the ground, they go starchy.
Here are some more interesting food plant snippets from the Bush Foods Workshop:
Scrambling Lily – This is a vine whose growth tips you can eat (the growth tips taste like asparagus!)
River Mint – Related to common mint. River mint is easy to grow and has a spearmint flavour.
Beach Cherry – A coastal shrub whose berries are sweet and delicious.
Sandpaper Fig – This is an important rainforest species. The sandpaper fig takes 1 – 2 years until fruiting. and has the same qualities as brown figs.
Sweet Native Rasberry -The Sweet Native Rasberry needs extra care, as it can become weedy. Graeme recommended the raspberry to be grown in a pot.
Warrigal Greens – These greens can be used like spinach. However, the Warrigal Greens need to be cooked before eating because they are high in oxalates (which are not good for your kidneys in high doses).
Do you currently grow Bush Foods or are you interested in growing Bush Foods? Please share your thoughts (and any growing tips) in the Comments section below!