Monday

Meatless Monday: Australian style

Well this is taking Meatless Monday in a different direction - have you ever foraged for food?  First I saw the guy on youtube who lived completely and healthily by picking things from around his garden and neighbourhood to eat. It was fascinating but maybe a little extreme for most but then I realised that in summer we do add nasturtium flowers, from the farm, to our salads and that herbs are really just the same kind of thing and we know how fresh and tasty these can make a meal.  I also remembered that when I was young we would eat the red clover flowers from the park because they were so sweet.

Here in Australia we have many foods to forage that may be found elsewhere:
Stinging Nettle which can be cooked and used like spinach or as a tea which has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

Scurvy weed which is apparently good added to frittata.
Beaded Samphire which is crunchy and slightly peppery.
Prickly Pear which is eaten as a fruit.
Wild Parsley where the leaves and roots are edible in salads.

Wild Parsley, Koehler's Medicinal-Plants, 1897.
We also have the wonderful tradition of bush tucker from our indigenous culture with many edible plants:
Seeds from the acacia tree were gathered extensively by women and children. They’d walk
for miles until they got their dishes full and they’d take them back to the clearest, nearest clay pan and they’d sit down to grind all their seeds up to make their flour. 
Beryl Carmichael
Honey Ants and native bees
Poolgarla, where the flower spikes are used to make a honey sweet mead.
Kerbein where the base of the stems are eaten raw or roasted.
Coastal Wattle which has protein rich seeds eaten after steaming.
Banksia with it's sweet nectar in the flowers.
Creek sandpaper fig with it's edible fruit.
Native Cherry whose seedless astringent tasting fruits can be eaten.
Lady Fingers
Screw Pine
The extensive knowledge that the Aboriginals had of the land and the plants meant that thousands of years of understanding goes into which parts of the plant can be eaten and how they must be prepared. Many plants have poisonous fruits like the Wombat Berry but the tubers can be eaten.



Bush Food: Aboriginal Food and Herbal Medicine a book which details the uses of hundreds of plants as well as rules governing seasonal harvesting and preparation of food. 
Bush Tucker Plants for your garden is a brochure that can get you started if you live in Australia.
Bush Foods of NSW, Australia is a free pdf


If you live in North America and are interested in foraging there is a good book called Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate (The Wild Food Adventure Series, Book 1)

4 comments:

  1. Very interesting article... I would be afraid I would eat something poisonous... I think it is wonderful for people that are talented enough to know the difference :)

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    1. Yes I agree as my father once ate a mushroom that sent him to hospital. What amazes me is how they work out, hundreds of years ago, what is edible and what is not.

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  2. Replies
    1. Do you have edible foods for foraging in Bhutan?

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