GETTING A TASTE FOR BUSH TUCKER
While Australia might be proud of offer multicultural cuisine, there is one type of food that is strangely missing. When most of us think about bush tucker, we think about damper and a couple of other meals that are cooked in the ashes of a fire, and that is about it. You are more likely to find the flavours of Australia in a high-end restaurant than around an Australian campsite these days.
Making sure you are eating the right ingredients isn’t that easy either. It is hard to know what you are eating if you are out camping and are looking for some spices to give your food a native taste of Australia. I have found one online store that makes the process of getting the right ingredients for your cooking. Outback Chef supplies many of the outback bush food spices and herbs you might be looking for.
If you are interested in Australian native foods, I here are some of my favourites to try. Some are available at supermarkets and grocery stores. Come to think of it, you could make a decent meal with these few ingredients.
I remember as a child when kangaroo meat first came on the market. It was in large tubs and only sold as meat for dogs. That has all changed pretty fast with kangaroo meat prices rising sharply to match. I love kangaroo meat, and anyone who loves a good beef steak will too. It has a little more flavour than steak and because it is leaner, you need to make sure you don’t overcook it. I always go with my kangaroo meat medium-rare, which I consider perfect for kangaroo meat.
Finger limes are probably more popular overseas than they are in Australia. You can find these in fruit and vegetable markets. Finger limes look like large pickles at a distance but they have a skin which is very similar to normal limes and they are packed with citrusy beads on the inside. They are great thirst quenchers. Finger limes are perfect for squeezing over a salad or your kangaroo meat.
There are quite a number of bush tomatoes. They have always been a big part of the native Australian diet. The traditional way to eat them is to dry the small red fruit or to cook them. I think they are perfect to grill quickly and serve with your kangaroo meat.
Warrigal greens are native Australia’s answer to spinach. Just like spinach Warrigal greens are extremely good for you. It is a little stronger and hardier than standard spinach, which means you need to cook it a little more than spinach. Also, you should never eat this one raw because it can contain harmful oxalates. Make sure you blanch it for at least 15 seconds if you want to use it in salads. It is packed with antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.
This is one nut we all know very well. Not as many people are actually aware that macadamia nuts are native to Australia. Macadamia nuts are delicious whatever way you eat them. I recommend chopping them up, giving them a light roasting and serving them with a little salt and pepper on your blanched Warrigal greens
Lemon myrtle is certainly a uniquely Australian flavour. Lemon myrtle tea is extremely popular and well known around the world. It is endemic to central and southeastern Queensland. You can get this one in tea bags at the supermarket if you want to try the flavour but you can do more than drink it. You can use it to add a fresh and lemony flavour to any dish. Again, I use this on kangaroo meat and in salads.
Do you have any other bush tucker tips you want to share? Let everyone know through the comments section below.