Grow bush foods

Gardening Australia - - CONTENTS -

Aus­tralia is rich in na­tive foods that can be home-grown and used in the kitchen. Tas­ma­nian gardener REES CAMP­BELL shares some of her favourites, with grow­ing tips and recipes

Did you know Tas­ma­nia has more than 150 ed­i­ble na­tive plants? The botan­i­cal larder of Aus­tralian bush food ex­tends to this lit­tle is­land I call home, which has a long his­tory of peo­ple liv­ing off the land. I’m fifth-gen­er­a­tion Tas­ma­nian and pas­sion­ate about its en­vi­ron­men­tal won­ders.

Three years ago I started Murnong Wild Food Gar­den with my hus­band, Col, and we now grow more than 115 species. I make a range of pre­serves, and we eat wild food ev­ery day. Oc­ca­sion­ally, we host din­ner par­ties of wild food – a truly unique gas­tro­nomic ex­pe­ri­ence!

It’s in­cred­i­bly re­ward­ing to know that we are keep­ing the state’s hor­ti­cul­tural and cul­tural his­tory alive, and giv­ing value to many plants that have long been over­looked. The next step is to or­gan­ise nu­tri­tional anal­y­sis, hor­ti­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment and com­mer­cial grow­ing of some of the wild species in our gar­den.

If you are in­ter­ested in grow­ing some bush foods your­self, here are my top 10 to get you started. There’s a mix­ture of fruits, tuber­ous roots, veg­eta­bles and herbs, rang­ing from the well-known war­ri­gal greens to the much sought-af­ter na­tive moun­tain pep­per.

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