Land Of Plenty – Native Ingredients
One thing we’re really passionate about here at The Land of Plenty is local produce and native ingredients. Indigenous Australians have been using all our local flora and fauna to survive on this vast land for over 40,000 years – using their knowledge, tracking and hunting skills for cooking bushfood and making medicine. Hence, At Land of Plenty, we like to hero some of these ingredients wherever possible in our cooking and our cocktails!
Australia’s landscape is like nowhere else on Earth and produces plants that are not only delicious but also versatile for use in the kitchen (and bar). We have fruits and flowers from our abundant rainforests (Davidson’s plums, riberries), flora from grassy woodlands (saltbush, wattle) and seeds from our far-reaching deserts (macadamias). In fact, there are thousands of indigenous ingredients around our bloody great country.
The team at LoP pride themselves on the ethical sourcing of Australian products and strive for minimal waste and sustainability wherever possible.
In a series of posts, we’re going to explore some of these native ingredients. So, here is a list of some excellent Australian plants that we’ll dive deeper into in the coming articles.
Aniseed Myrtle (Native Aniseed, Ringwood) Botanical Name: Syzygium anisatum
Indigenous Australians used Aniseed Myrtle medicinally to treat cuts and wounds. Additionally, native aniseed featured in bush foods for its anise-liquorice flavours.
You’ll find this versatile plant in rainforests in the eastern parts of Australia. But, it’s the natural oil in the leaves that can be used fresh, dried or as a powder in cooking today. Add to rich stews, sweets or use it as tea.
Like many Australian native ingredients, aniseed myrtle is full of the good stuff. It contains anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, rich with antioxidants and nutrients such as folate, magnesium, and vitamin E.
Bush Tomatoes (Kutjera, Dessert Raisin, Akatyerre) Botanical Name: Solanum centrale
Australia’s native tomato, the bush tomato, is a little bit different to your average tomato. Comparatively, they’re more earthy in flavour with notes of caramel and tangy acidity. Additionally, they’re deliciously high in protein and fat.
Add these pint-sized tomatoes to chutneys, sauces and stews, by drying them first. For instance, we recently used these delicious little guys in a hearty tomato soup! Delish!
Find bush tomatoes on small desert bushes in central and western Australia including parts of South Australia and the Northern Territory. Like the Phoenix, these plants thrive after bushfires.
Akudjura is ground bush tomato. It’s used as a spice powder and has fruity, caramel-like flavours and is a good source of vitamin C.
Burdekin Plums (Tulip Plum) Botanical Name: Pleiogynium timorense
Burdekin plums are part of the same botanical family as mangoes (and cashews and pistachios). Eat them raw, add to salads, or even use to make jam, wine and liqueurs.
The fruit grows on large rainforest trees; its small and round, similar to that of a classic plum. The skin of a Burdekin plum is deep purple in colour, smooth and shiny. Different varieties of the plum have slightly different flavour profiles from mild and sweet to tart. Burdekin plums are chokers full of vitamin C, minerals, and dietary fibre.
Cedar Bay Cherries (Beach Cherries, Fruiting Myrtle) Botanical Name: Eugenia reinwardtiana
These teeny native cherries might be small in size, but they’re large in flavour! Not to mention how aesthetically pleasing they are with their bright reddish-orange skin.
Munch on them raw with their sweet, soft flesh or add them to sweets or cocktails. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
You’ll find these indigenous cherries in the Daintree area in Queensland on a small bush. They’re also chock-full of antioxidants.
Davidson’s Plum (NSW Davidson’s Plum, QLD Davidson’s Plum) Botanical Name: Davidsonia pruriens
Davidson’s plums vary slightly between New South Wales and Queensland, but are generally similarly tart in flavour and equally useful in sauces, jams and drinks. The Hills Cider Co recently made a limited edition Davidson’s plum and apple cider, and it was yum-o! (Sorry, but I’m not sure there’s any left!)
While smashing back heaps of delicious cider might not be a super-healthy choice; Davidson’s plums are healthy on their own – full of antioxidants, potassium, vitamin e, zinc and calcium.
Desert Lime (Bush Lime, Wild Lime, Native Cumquat) Botanical Name: Citrus glauca
The desert lime grows on highly evolved trees across Australia’s demanding outback thriving in harsh conditions. Much like regular limes, these native fruits are sour; use in place of regular limes, in jams, with seafood or… in cocktails?
They’re packed full of goodness too – high levels of vitamin C, calcium, folate, vitamin E and lutein
Finger Limes (Lime Caviar) Botanical Name: Citrus australasica
Often referred to as ‘lime caviar’ for their small-beady insides, finger limes come in a range of different varieties exhibiting different colours and flavours. These guys are already popping up on cocktails lists around Australia. We’re using the Red Champagne varietal here at Land of Plenty in our new cocktail menu that we’re working on; watch this space!
Indigenous Australians have also been using finger limes topically for many generations as an antiseptic for infected sores and boils.
You’ll find these tart limes hanging off trees grown in rainforests in Queensland and New South Wales.
Illawarra plum (Daalgaal, Goongum, Gidneywallum, Brown Pine, Plum Pine) Botanical Name: Podocarpus elatus
These little weirdos are a bit backwards, or inside out; the seed is on the outside of the fruit! The Illawarra plum is super juicy, full of antioxidants and perfect for jams and sweets. They grow on trees in rainforests in New South Wales and Queensland.
The team at Distilled Headlands Distilling Co think that the Daalgaal, Goongum, Gidneywallum is so yummy they’re using it to make a delicious Aussie liquor!
Kakadu Plums (Billygoat Plum, Green Plum) Botanical Name: Terminalia ferdinandiana
When it comes to the all-important vitamin C, the Kakadu plum is king. It has more vitamin C than any other fruit on Earth – fifty times more than oranges! Though they’re not quite as juicy as an orange to eat raw, they’re bloody good in sauces and syrups.
For your next vitamin C hit, explore the Eucalypt woodlands in northern Australia where you’ll find the Kakadu plums in abundance.
Indigenous Australians have used this plant for thousands of years for food and medicinal properties. Additionally, the red inner bark was also used to treat skin conditions and sores.
Karkalla (Pigface Plant, Beach Banana, Bain) Botanical Name: Carpobrotus rossii
Karkalla is a salty succulent that grows in coastal regions in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. Aboriginal people commonly ate the fruit from this ‘pigface plant’ fresh or dried as a salting agent with meat.
We’re fond of Karkalla at Land of Plenty having used it in dips and cocktails!
Kurrajong Seeds (From the Illawarra Flame Tree) Botanical Name: Brachychiton acerifolius
You’ll find Kurrajong seeds hanging about in large boat-like pods gathered in groups on the branches of the large native Illawarra Flame Tree in subtropical regions on the east coast of Australia. A leafless flame tree flourishes with red bell-shaped flowers that give it its name.
Indigenous Australians use the nutty-flavoured seeds by toasting them before eating. By toasting them, they burnt off the pesky hairs that surround the protein-rich seeds.
Now, you may know this song when you hear it, but did you know it’s about the iconic Aussie Illawarra Flame Tree?
Get around this great classic hit!
Lemon Myrtle (Lemon Ironwood, Queen of the Lemon Herb) Botanical Name: Backhousia citriodora
This popular native herb is used in a swag of different ways. The leaves are used fresh or dried and added to sauces and stews for extra flavour, used as an oil to brush over fish for cooking or as indigenous Australian’s did several thousand years ago – by chewing the leaves for hydration and making a paste to treat wounds.
Lemon myrtle is native to the tropical north-east and is widely available for purchase at many stores around Australia.
Macadamia Nuts (Queensland Nut, Bush Nut, Maroochi Nut) Botanical Name: Macadamia integrifolia
Australia’s most delicious native nut, macadamias, grow in north-eastern New South Wales and central and south-eastern Queensland.
You might find them coated in honey to be munched on as a snack or crumbled on top of deserts, but here at Land of Plenty we use them to make our homemade macadamia orgeat that we incorporate into our cocktails, and it’s delicious!
Molucca Berry (Broad-leaf Bramble) Botanical Name: Rubus moluccanus
Molucca berries have soft, sweet flesh and are perfect for use in jams and sweets.
When compared to the European raspberry we are generally more familiar with; the Molucca is less tart and brighter in colour. It’s a rainforest fruit that grows along streams and shady creeks, through eastern Australia from Victoria in the south to tropical north Queensland.
These delicious little berries are also chock-full of nutritional properties such as vitamin C.
Mountain Pepper (Tasmanian Pepper, Native Pepper, Pepperberry) Botanical Name: Tasmannia lanceolata
Don’t be fooled by its botanical name; the Tasmannia lanceolata is a shrub grown in colder parts of south-east Australia – New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
For thousands of years, the leaves and the peppery berries from the mountain pepper plant have been used in cooking and medicinally.
Similar to regular pepper, mountain pepper has a strong peppery taste; therefore you can use as you would any other pepper. The dark berries can also be added to sauces resulting in a rich, plum colour and resulting in an extra kick of antioxidants!
Muntries (Muntharis, Native Cranberry, Emu Apple) Botanical Name: Kunzea pomifera
How do you like them apples? Ok, so they’re not apples, but they’re pretty similar! Muntries are a small fruit that has a crisp and slightly tart apple flavour. Indigenous Australians used to grind them up into a paste and make fruit bars. Yum!
Grown in Victoria and South Australia, these little fruits are perfect for tarts and other desserts.
Muntries have heaps of antioxidants and provide natural waxes that will make your skin glow!
Quandong (Native Peach) Botanical Name: Santalum acuminatum
Quandong – it’s fun to say, and they’re delicious to eat! The native peach falls from drought-resistant evergreen trees found throughout the arid central deserts and southern parts of Aus.
Quandongs are rich in vitamin C; use them in sweets, in hefty sauces for meats and fresh and healthy juices.
Got a toothache? Mash the kernel of the quandong’s tough shell into a paste and use on sore gums and toothaches!
Riberry (Lilli Pilli) Botanical Name: Syzygium luehmannii
Riberries are sweet, tart berries found on lush evergreen rainforest plants with shiny green leaves. They’re small reddish-pink fruits that are chock-full of essential minerals such as manganese, calcium and folate.
Fondly known as Lilli Pilli’s and often used in sweets, chocolate treats and even savoury plates.
Popular in bush foods since the ’80s, the berry is known for its cranberry-like flavour, with a hint of cloves.
Saltbush (Oldman Saltbush, Purngep, Binga) Botanical Name: Atriplex nummularia
Lovingly known as ‘Oldman Saltbush’, this greyish-blue bush grows out of our dry grounds and produces a native herb that is as it’s name suggests, is salty in flavour.
This hardy plant can tolerate the driest and saltiest of conditions growing widely all year long around the desert plains of mainland Australia.
Indigenous Australians used the seeds from the saltbush by grounding them into a powder and adding the powder to damper.
The leaves can also be used when cooking bush tucker, used similarly to a leafy green or dried and used as a herb.
Strawberry Gum (Forestberry) Botanical Name: Eucalyptis olida
Strawberry gum is fast becoming one of the most popular native ingredients in Australia. Use it in a variety of ways that stretch wide from sweets such as panna cotta to distilled into some of our favourite Aussie gins. As a highly aromatic herb, it’s becoming a popular addition to the vast number of gins being made here in Aus.
The flavour profile of strawberry gum is a long list; often described for its fruit, strawberry, basil, bubblegum and other red fruit notes. Aboriginal Australians would chew on the eucalypt leaves releasing it’s delicious essential oils.
Now we could go on about how versatile this epic native Australian ingredient is, but what are its health benefits? It is a powerhouse of useful anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties (for your gut health) as well as being a great source of antioxidants (for inflammation and the slowing of the aging process).
The strawberry gum leaves grow on a medium-sized tree that is endemic to the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. You can buy it in many great Aussie bush foods stores.
Wattleseed (Elegant Wattle, Prickly Wattle) Botanical Name: Acacia victoriae
Aboriginal Australians traditionally used wattleseed as a type of flour in cooking – roasted and ground into a powder. It has a rich flavour profile of coffee, chocolate and nuts. Use wattleseed in baking, added to sauces and sweets or even added directly to your morning coffee!
It’s got the good stuff; rich in protein, potassium, calcium, iron and zinc.
The native ingredients around this vast land are abundant. Australia boasts bush foods like nowhere else and we want to bring them into our venue and onto your plate! We get a lot of our native ingredients from the fantastic team at Bush Lolly Cafe.
All of our booze celebrates this bloody good country and all of our bar ingredients are locally sourced to compliment every cocktail we make.
Our beers are from here and the wine is extracted from local vines.
Did we miss your favourite native ingredient? Leave us a comment or contact us and we’ll include it. Coming up next, we’ll take a deeper look into the history and uses of some of Australia’s favourite bush foods.
Land of Plenty acknowledges the Yalukit Willam clan of the Boonwurrung people, the traditional owners of the land on which we live, love and play. We pay our respects to them, their culture and their elders past and present.