Words by Michael Watkins
Feature images by Tabitha Lean
We know that for thousands of years, prior to colonisation, Aboriginal peoples have been using “bush tucker” and foods provided from the country. Our diets were seasonal, consisting of high protein, complex carbohydrates, micronutrients, and polyunsaturated fats while low in sugars and saturated fat. Very similar to the messaging found today in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating! Although, today we are using Western science to compare bush tucker with common introduced fruits and foods, and finding Aboriginal foods to be superior in quality and health benefit potential! Since colonisation, Aboriginal food consumption has drastically changed, however today these foods are still consumed and harvested and even offered commercially.
Below are some of the great Aboriginal (super)foods which can be commercially purchased and used in your everyday cooking and diet.
Displays outstanding antioxidant capacity and has comparable levels of Vitamin E with an avocado.
Quandongs can be commonly purchased as a jam and used on toast, pies and stews.
Quandong jams can be purchased online and from some local stores.
Kangaroo fillet is an extremely lean meat compared to regular red meat options such as beef, and is also a high source of iron. Kangaroo tails are consumed within the Aboriginal community as a type of delicacy.
Kangaroo meat is best enjoyed in a variety of dishes and can be purchased from Adelaide Central Markets and major supermarkets.
A staple from arid areas of Australia, this fruit is a rich source of potassium and high in vitamin C.
Bush tomatoes can be mixed into a damper (bread) mix, curries, salsas, seasoned onto meat or sprinkled onto baked vegetables.
Dried bush tomato can be purchased from a variety of online stores.
This fruit has comparable levels of Vitamin E with an avocado and is one of the richest sources of antioxidant compounds. Kakadu Plum has the highest recorded levels of Vitamin C of any fruit in the world, with up to 100 times the amount of Vitamin C content found in an orange.
If you’re interested in trying one of these foods or seeing what else there is commercially available, see the list of native food providers below:
Something Wild: Indigenous owned food and beverage company – Adelaide Central Markets
Warndu: Indigenous owned company which provides native Australia foods and ingredients – Clare, SA
Footeside Farm: Eudunda SA
Native Oz Bushfoods: Online store specialising in native Australia ingredients. Nativeozbushfoods.com.au