Learn how to recognise, grow, and prepare native Australian plants for consumption.
There are numerous edible Australian plants, some of which are even in high demand globally as foods. Prior to the arrival of white civilization in Australia, the Aborigines were nomads. Their diet contained a substantial amount of plants.
There are numerous varieties of bush tucker foods, including:
- Nuts and seeds (eg. Acacia, Macadamia, bunya nuts)
- Drinks (eg. hot teas, infusions of nectar laden flowers, fruit juices)
- Flavourings (eg. lemon scented myrtle)
- Berries (eg. Astroloma, some Solanum species)
- Fruits (eg. quandong, Ficus macrophylla, Syzygium)
- Vegetables (warrigal greens)
- Wattle seeds ground to produce ‘flour’
- Plant roots ground to produce a paste or flour.
There are 8 lessons in this course:
- Is it Edible
- Native Plants to be Cautious with
- Understanding Plant Toxins
- Nutritional Value of Bush tucker
- Plant Identification
- Naming Plants
- Hybrids, Varieties and Cultivars
- Plant Families
- Pronouncing Plant Names
- Understanding Soil
- Improving Soil
- Feeding Plants
- Growing Australian Plants on Low Fertility Soils
- Planting Procedure
- Pruning Australian Plants
- Collecting, Storing, Germinating Seed
- Difficult Seeds
- Seed Germination Techniques
- Handling and raising seedlings
- Asexual Propagation (Cuttings, Division, etc)
- Bush Foods as A Commercial Venture
- Gathering Acacia Seed
- Developing a Bush Food Garden
- Designing a Bush Garden
- Selected Native Trees for a Bush Tucker Garden
- Selected Shrubs for a Bush Tucker Garden
- Selected Small Indigenous Australian Plants for a Bush Tucker Garden
- Rainforest Gardens
- Desert Gardens
- Edible Arid Zone Bush Tucker plants
- Water Management
- Nuts and Seeds
- Aleurites moluccana
- Athertonia diversifolia (Atherton Oak)
- Castanospermum australe
- Hicksbeachia pinnatifolia
- Using Acacias (eg. Wattleseed Essence)
- Native Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides)
- Pigface (Carpobrotus sp.)
- Longleaf Mat Rush (Lomandra longifolia)
- Solanums (Bush Tomatoes or Kangaroo Apple)
- Blechnum indicum
- Apium prostratum (Sea Celery)
- Native Lilies
- Microseris lanceolata (Yam Daisy)
- Dioscorea transversa (Wild Yams)
- Native ginger Alpinia caerulea
- Austromyrtus dulcis (Midgen Berry)
- Billardiera sp (eg. Appleberry)
- Davidsonia purescens (Davidson’s Plum)
- Eugenia spp. and Syzygium spp. (eg. Bush Cherries)
- Ficus (Native Figs)
- Planchonella australis (Black Apple)
- Quandong (Santalum)
- Rubus sp (Native Raspberry)
- Other Fruits …lots more outlined
- Flavourings, Teas, Essences
- Curcuma (related to ginger)
- Soaked Flowers (eg. Grevillea)
- Alpinia caerulea
- Tasmannia sp
- Using Bush Tucker Plants
- Develop your ability to identify, select, and develop processing procedures, for a range of varieties of bush food plants selected.
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school’s tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
- Describe the types and uses of bush food plants.
- Review the methods used to correctly identify bush tucker plants.
- Explain the various bush tucker plants and how to grow them.
- Explain how to create a bush food garden and how to get bush foods from the wild.
- Describe how different bush food nuts and seeds are grown, harvested, and used.
- Describe how to grow, harvest, and use different bush tucker veggies.
- Describe how to grow, harvest, and use different bush tucker fruits.
- Describe how different bush tucker plants are grown, harvested, and used as food or beverage flavourings.
- Explain how bush tucker is prepared.
Make an Australian food garden with native plants.
It is similar to creating any other sort of garden to think about what will grow in your region and climate zone, which plants you will include in the garden, and how to arrange these plants for aesthetic value. Your design, however, most likely won’t be divided into a vegetable garden, a fruit garden, and an ornamental garden like a “regular” garden would be. You can incorporate all of those elements into the edible decorative bush garden you create without separating them.
A naturally grown edible garden need not be uninteresting or uncared for. The main difference is that you will be deliberately choosing plants that can be harvested for their edible produce. If skillfully designed, it can combine all the typical design aspects that make bush gardens exciting and beautiful.
Australian Plants that Provide Excellent Sources of Food
Think about these:
Golden Wattle, also known as Acacia longifolia, is a fast-growing tree that is native to south-eastern Australia, lower southeast Queensland, eastern and southern Victoria, and south-eastern South Africa. Green wattle seeds are best prepared by lightly baking while having a comparable nutritional profile as cultivated garden peas. Flowers begin to bloom in July and continue through September, and seed pods ripen throughout the summer.
Together with the coast and tablelands of New South Wales, this plant can also be found in southern Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania. From September to December, flowers bloom. edible gum and seeds; dyspepsia tea made from bark. This 15-meter-tall tree requires full light, an open, dry environment that is well-drained.
Citrus Backhousia (Lemon Myrtle)
a native of Queensland and New South Wales, this little, low branched tree grows 3 to 8 metres tall. It grows in full sun to partial shade and requires warm, well-drained soil; frost protection is advised. The leaves, a substitute for lemongrass in teas, have a strong lemon flavour. The leaves are fantastic in cheesecakes; dry and grind them for use in cakes and cookies.
the populous Brachychiton (Kurrajong)
Big trees up to 10 metres tall need a moist, well-drained location; frost-sensitive young plants should be planted in sun to part shade. edible seed with a nutty flavour.
Citrus australasica, also known as the native finger lime, is a tiny tree that grows 4 to 6 metres tall and is native to Queensland and New South Wales. It may be grown in pots and prefers moist, fertile soil that is well-drained. The finger-shaped fruit is loaded with little balls that are edible and have a beautiful lime flavour that goes well in Asian dishes as well as in cocktails.
Eugenia olida (Strawberry Gum)
A 20-meter-tall medium-sized tree that is only found in sclerophyll forests on the Northern Tableland of New South Wales; it has cream blooms that are followed by tiny woody capsules. The young leaves are 7 cm long, oval, and dull green. The adult leaves are up to 17 cm long, lanceolate, and glossy green. They are extremely aromatic and are used as spices. Although being a vulnerable species in the wild, E. olida is becoming more popular in cultivation thanks to its usefulness as a spice and source of essential oils; it grows well in bigger gardens.
integrifolia macadamia (Macadamia Nut)
a 12–15 m tall, rounded, slowly growing tree; for optimal results, choose a grafted cultivar (these are readily available in Australia). Most suited to the milder climates of northern NSW and coastal south Queensland. It is best to let the tasty nuts mature on the tree. Approximately 7 months after blooms bloom in June to March, nuts begin to mature. In mature plants, bronze leaves are opposite and emerge in whorls of three. They are 10–30 cm long, have few or no spines along their borders, and have 1.3 cm-long petioles. Flowers that are creamy-white and without petals are produced in racemes, which resemble grapes, in groups of three or four along a long axis. The fruit is made up of a round seed enclosed in a fleshy, green husk that measures between 1.3 and 2.5 centimetres in diameter. The shell is hard, fibrous, and very challenging to crack; (more on this species in the following lesson).
Luehmann’s syzygium (Riberry)
A native of Queensland and NSW, the little bushy tree can grow to a height of 8 metres and requires good soil that drains well. A magnificent, medium-sized tree with foliage that reaches the ground. Fleshy red berries are followed by tiny white blossoms. When young, the tiny, glossy, lance-shaped leaves are pink or scarlet. The leaves are 4 to 5 cm long with a long, prominent tip and opposite, simple, whole, lanceolate to ovate in shape. At the tips of branchlets, tiny 2.5 cm panicles of white or cream blooms with four or five petals appear in November or December. Flowers have 2 to 5 mm-long stamens. Red berry fruit with a single seed and a pearshape that is 13 mm long ripens between December and February. Although seeds of this plant can be used, germination is intermittent and inconsistent. Cuttings of this plant strike easily. The sour aftertaste of the sweet purple berries makes them ideal in jams, sauces for meat, and cordials. After flowering, prune to keep the growth compact.
WHO SHOULD TAKE THIS COURSE
For those who might use or grow Australian Bush Tucker Plants, this course was created.
This course is useful for everyone involved in the food industry, from food production and manufacturing through selling and cooking.
You can utilise this course to investigate fresh and creative options for cooking or growing.
Whatever your motivation for studying Bush Tucker, you will increase your understanding of the foods that could be used as crops, to make new food products, or to develop new menu items.