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Wild Food Plants in South Australia

April 23 2018 | Jade Walsh

Wild Food Plants in South Australia

More people are embracing the unique sensory journey of our native herbs, spices, fruits, nuts, and seeds while exploring our great outdoors. Tracking down bush tucker, whether you’re a skillful forager, cook or enjoy exploring new styles of cuisine is another great excuse to out and enjoy our great country.

South Australia has nearly a hundred species of native foods. Many are now commercially exploited by restaurants, food manufacturers and nurserymen. Their benefits are numerous. Native fruits such as quandongs and desert limes are high in Vitamin C, while saltbush is being used by innovative South Australian lamb producers as feed, giving their meat a unique flavour and marketing edge. (Saltbush is great in cooking too!). Many native plants make beautiful, environmentally friendly and easy to keep garden plants.

For an introduction to some of the more popular table species visit the Food Australia website. If this whets your appetite there’s more! The South Australian Native Food Association list the plants under commercial species grown here in our own backyard. You can learn where and how they are grown, their uses, where to buy native plants for your garden and so on.  Imagine, growing plants that save on water, attract wildlife that you can eat at home!

The South Australian Native Food Association also runs field events. Close to home, an urban farmer who is passionate about sharing all he knows about our bush tucker is Steven Hoepfner. He’s a founding member of the Wagtail Urban Farm located in Mitchell Park. You can contact him via his website.

If you’d love to try bush tucker cooked by experts the South Australia Traveller lists 10 restaurants that have embraced the cuisine at different locations across our state. If you can’t wait until your next trip the Adelaide Review has a review of several local bush tucker eateries.

For adventurous home cooks wanting to add to their repertoire the SBS foodies list a dozen or so recipes that look absolutely mouth-watering. There are many suppliers of ingredients or if you are confident in your foraging skills you might even gather your own. At this point we should include this warning from the South Australian Native Food Association:

*Extreme care should be exercised to ensure correct identification before consuming plants found in the wild. Some bush tucker plants are very similar to other plants that may contain poisonous compounds. The wrong choice could cause illness if consumed. Even correctly identified, some bush tucker may contain substances that, while harmless to most people, can cause an allergic reaction to a minority, or have an unpleasant taste to some. In some cases, the bush tucker needs appropriate preparation before use.

In this article we’ve included a simple BBQ recipe from the SBS website that you could manage on the road and boy, it looks yummy!

Butterflied saltbush chook with charred veg

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