Would you like to incorporate Australian bush foods into your garden? Bush food or bush tucker is any food or ingredient native to Australia. Edible plants have been part of our First Nation’s diet for tens of thousands of years. Today, native bush foods are popping up in restaurants, cafes and cooking shows around Australia and overseas.
Bush foods are renowned for their nutritional and medicinal uses and more home gardeners are planting up these natives. With edible natives, you can enjoy a backyard full of unique and delicious fruits, roots, nuts, seeds and leaves from plants naturally adapted to Australia’s climate and soil. Keep reading to find out how to start your bush food garden.
Common Australian bush foods
- Wattleseed: A mainstay in the diet of Australia's earliest inhabitants for thousands of years, provides a rich source of protein and carbohydrate in times of drought
- Riberry (Lilly Pilly): It's versatile and delicious with an apple-like, fruity, tart flavour and is one of the best native fruits to eat raw.
- Davidson's Plum: The deep dark purple fruits contain a soft juicy pulp with a sharp acidity. The aroma is earthy, like fresh beetroot with slight pickled notes.
- Quandong: A shiny, bright scarlet fruit which can be stewed, dried or eaten raw. The flesh is highly nutritious and contains twice the vitamin C of an orange. While the kernel is used for medicinal purposes.
- Saltbush: Old Man Saltbush is a fast-growing shrub. Both the seeds and leaves are edible, with the leaves salty in flavour and rich in protein, antioxidants and minerals.
- Bunya Nuts: The bunya nut tree is a huge tree which bears a crop only after the tree itself is around 100 years old. The nuts can be eaten raw or boiled. The nuts can then be roasted, sliced or pureed.
Start your bush food garden
- Watch Gardening Australia’s Bushfood for Backyards episode
- Try these recipes using native bush tucker ingredients
- Read about some of Australia’s bush tucker foods in this blog post
- Get involved with one of Sunshine Coast Council’s community gardens and grow your own native bush foods
- Learn more about native plants and find a community native nursery
- Join the Native Australian Plants and Bushfoods, Native Australian Bush Tucker, Australian Native Plants and Bush Tucker Facebook groups for learn more about native Australian plants, bushfoods and bush medicine.
Browse for inspiration with these eMagazines:
- Gardening Australia
- Better Homes and Gardens Australia
- Earth Garden
- ABC Organic Gardener Magazine
To get started using free eMagazines download the Libby app, select Sunshine Coast Libraries and enter your library membership number and password.
Libraries love these eBooks:
- Mabu Mabu: An Australian Kitchen Cookbook by Nornie Bero
To get started download the cloudLibrary and Libby apps. Select Sunshine Coast Libraries and enter your membership number and password.
Set up a playlist with these First Nations artists on hoopla:
- Baker Boy
- Archie Roach
- Christine Anu
- Warumpi Band
First time customers, select sign up and choose Sunshine Coast Libraries. Enter your email address and select password to create account.
Learn about Australian bush food with these podcast episodes:
- All the dirt podcast Australian Bush Tucker Plants: Steve and Deryn are joined by Mark Tucek who talks growing bush tucker plants in your backyard.
- The NITV Podcast Traditional Bush Medicine: Incorporating bush foods in our diet can be good for our health and there are thousands of plants species which are used for traditional medicinal purposes
- PK Podcast 50 Les Hiddins, The Bush Tucker Man (Apple Podcasts): Les Hiddins became well known through his ABC TV series "The Bush Tucker Man". He looked heavily into traditional bush foods, with the help and cooperation of Indigenous communities.
- The NITV Podcast Bush Superfoods: Indigenous people have known the qualities and properties of native bush foods for millennia. Now the rest of the world wants a taste of it.
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