A Fruit a Day: A Look at Australia’s Native Fruits

Australian cuisine exhibits a beautiful fusion of different cultures, particularly British, Irish, and Mediterranean. While you may find diverse dishes in the country, Australia is also rich in native food items, such as fruits and vegetables. These essentials, when integrated with international dishes turn into delicious foods that are unique to the country.

Native Fruit Industry

According to New Rural Industries Australia, native plants have market potentials. However, they remain largely undeveloped. The Macadamia nut industry is an exception to this, as the industry is worth approximately $60 million. In 1998, the government created research and development programs to address concerns on the emerging industries, including assessment of different plant and fruit varieties. Some fruits that are native to Australia are Lemon Myrtle, Bush Tomato, Davidson’s Plum, and Riberries.

Lemon Myrtle
Lemon Myrtle
Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) is a native tree found in the rainforests of Queensland. It offers a unique lemon-lime fragrance as its leaves has high concentration of citral. People often dry the leaves and use them for tea, spice and potpourri. Some use the essential oil to give flavour to drinks and food. Other manufacturers use Lemon Myrtle as part of their disinfectant, products, air freshener, and body care essentials.

Wild Lime
Sometimes called desert lime, this fruit can survive drought and easily adapt to different extreme conditions. You’ll find wild limes in regular and miniature sizes. They are segmented, juicy and have thin skin. Some say they resemble West Indian Green Limes. Others say they are bizarre finger limes. You can use wild limes as substitute to ordinary limes in most recipes. The best way to use this in cooking is to add them at the end of the cooking process. You can also use them as brulees, curds, marmalades, and sauces.

Davidson Plum
You’ll find Davidson plums in parts of New South Wales and Queensland. They have the same size as blood plums but with double flat seeds. They are extremely sour but also delicious and tangy. When using as substitute for ordinary plums, you only have to use 1 Davidson plum for 3 regular plums. It is best to mix them with other fruits to avoid overwhelming your dish with its flavour.

Bush Tomato
Bush-Tomato
This is a desert shrub that thrives under the sun and needs little water to survive. Bush tomato is a staple among aborigines living in the desert. They often dry the tomato, ground, and mixed them with water to create a thick paste. They will roll the end product into large balls, dry them again and store them so they can use them later on.
Bush tomatoes resemble yellow cherry tomatoes but with a touch of green. Before using them, you need to dry them to decrease the amount of alkaloids, which can be dangerous. When dried, they often look like raisins with a rich reddish brown colour. Many people use bush tomatoes in any tomato dish, and often mix them with cheese, pepper, and chilli.
Other native fruits you’ll find in Australia are Quandong, Kakadu Plum, Riberries, and Muntries.

Reference:

http://www.nria.org.au/NativeFoods

http://www.sydneyessential.com.au/guides/food-guides/native-fruits/