However, because of the climate, some wild food/animals, which are not originally from the region have thrived in Central Australia’s desert, such as camel, dates, quandong, feral cat and bush honey.
Being there I could try some bush tucker and learn a bit about them with Kungkas Can Cook. Bush tomato, for example, is considered a treat, which is given to children, however, rarely are they found in the arid parts of Australia. Interestingly their growth is stimulated by fire to break the dormancy and germinate. As they don't grow in abundance the aborigines made a fruit ball to be hidden and stored for several years gave in little portions for their children (maybe it was the beginning of the protein balls! Haha). But it is not every bush tomato is edible and even for the edible ones a particular technique is used to eat them because most of them need to remove the poisonous part (or maybe this is the secret to keep us far from this delicatessen). For my taste buds it was bitter and reminded me of Vegemite (now I understand why Australians love this!). Bush tomato was the only “chocolate” some children got from the desert and they couldn´t keep away from this treat.
Another indulgence which is very difficult to find in the wild world is sugar bag - the honey made by
Australian native stingless bees from the Western Desert. I got one from the Warlpiri tribesman who hunted it from wild nests. It’s real bush tucker. Even though sugar bar is a natural sweet substance originating from the nectar of flower like honey, it has its own special flavour, totally different. It tastes like burned caramel with honey and propolis (it is also a little bit bitter, but enough to mix well with the sweet caramel). The flavour is out of this word and it’s a highly prized food for Aborigines who hunt it from wild nests.
I also tried quandong the wild peach, saltbush dukkah, native salty herb, and wattle seed, which only germinates after bushfires and is a rich source of protein and carbohydrate in times of drought.
Next time I’m keen to try honey ants and a witchetty grub.
Honey ant is an ant that stores honey in their stomachs to share it with other ants when food is scarce. Because of their size, honey ants cannot move. Who tasted it say that is a very strong honey with lemon. Aboriginal women grab them from the nest into the ground.
Witchetty grub is a delicacy found in the roots of the witchetty bush. Women dig for them. Some people say that they taste like scrambled eggs and almonds.
I wish I could share this experience with every friend I have and this is the reason I am writing this post. If you have the opportunity to go there, do it and try as much as bush food you can. You will not regret it J. (more experience to be made in outback on this post).
I’m happy to have Rayleen Brown from Kungkas Can Cook to share her culture and yummy bush food with me.
More information: http://www.alicesprings.nt.gov.au/living/plants