You probably heard the term Australian bush tucker quite a few times and wondered what it was all about. In a nutshell, Australian bush tucker food is native Aboriginal cuisine that mainly consists of easy to find local sources of fibre, protein, low sugar fruit, etc. Interestingly the cuisine hasn’t changed, and so much of what was available back then is eaten today. We’ve put together this quick and easy Australian bush tucker guide for anyone interested in trying something exotic.
The reason why we kicked this Australian bush tucker guide with mention of Witchetty grub is that it is the poster child of sorts of bush tucker cuisine. It is either roasted over coals or eaten raw. The nutty taste probably stems from the fact that the grub eats a mainly plant-based diet. However, as it turns out, Witchetty grub is rich in folate, calcium, niacin, and protein.
High in protein, fats Green Ants, are a popular choice amongst Australian bushmen. The slightly lemony tinge is an acquired taste. Most Australian bushmen will also eat the ant’s white larvae. Interestingly, the green ants and their larvae are also turned into a drink, which is said to relieve headaches.
Other Insects Eaten by Bushmen
Apart from the above Australian bushmen eat other insects like river red gum grub, tar vine caterpillars, cicadas, etc. The benefit of edible insects is that they are rich in protein. For instance, a caterpillar has around 280g of protein for every kilogram of weight. Now that’s around 20g more than salmon, and they (caterpillars) don’t taste that bad either.
Vegetables and Fruits
While many Australian bush tucker guides will focus a lot on insects, since they are what represent this cuisine, what many people don’t know is that bushmen also consume a lot of vegetables and fruits.
No bush tucker diet is complete without servings of quandong either dried or fresh, also turned into jams. Kakadu plums are another staple and contain over 100 times the amounts of Vitamin C as compared to oranges.
Other fruits that are part of the bush tucker diet are native gooseberries, kutjera, lady apple, wild passionfruit, snowberry, Davidson’s plum, and desert lime.
Vegetables like bush potatoes, warrigal greens, yams, and sea celery comprise a major portion of the bush tucker diet. These vegetables are rich in dietary fiber, iron, Vitamin C, and A along with proteins.
Seeds and Nuts
Australian bush tucker food has generous helpings of seeds like wattle seeds, ad mulga seeds. These require some soaking, before being pounded down and baked. It is a ritual that’s been used for thousands of years to remove all the toxins from the seeds, making them safe for consumption.
Pigweed plant seeds and cycad palm seeds are often turned into cakes and bread. The bunya nut, on the other hand, is eaten either raw, or it is cooked on hot coals. It is also turned into a paste and generally fed to kids.
Australian bush tucker food has stood the test of time for over 60,000 years. It signifies the symbiotic relationship between man and nature. It is, after all, about living off the land.