The urban guide to bush tucker

The urban guide to bush tucker

If you think bush tucker is just witchetty grubs, you should read this handy food guide.

I should begin the way that every guide I have read begins:

Now that’s out of the way, here are six edible natives that can be grown in pots on your balcony, and which are some of the most tasty.

BLUE FLAX LILY: A small, tough bush native to the East Coast from Queensland to Victoria, with sweet, crazy-coloured berries.

FINGER LIME: A small, thorny shrub native to the rainforests between NSW and Queensland. Called ‘lime caviar’ for the tiny, soft beads inside, they come in colours ranging from green to brown to pink.

NATIVE GINGER: The blue berries are sour but delicious, and the young shoots can be used in place of regular ginger.

WARRIGAL GREENS: A tough East Coast native that looks and tastes like spinach.

LILLI PILLI: Also known as riberry, this is a popular street tree with fruit that tastes like cranberries. Every time you’re squishing the fallen berries into the footpath, you’re wasting food. It can be kept as a small shrub by pruning.

PIG FACE: A ground-creeping plant with succulent leaves and big daisy-like flowers that grows on sand dunes along the beach. Its leaves and fruit are edible, and taste like salty strawberries. Its leaves can also be snapped in half and used like aloe vera on burns, bites and stings.

If you’re keen to grow your own bush tucker (and help out the poor old native bees), they sell more than 42 native edible species at Sydney Wildflower Nursery. There’s a whole bunch of recipes on the Australian Super Food Co website like Riberry and Finger Lime Smoothie Bowl and Veggie Burgers with Davidson Plum and Wattleseed.

If you’re going camping, these two field guides come highly recommended, and this D’harawal Calendar published by the Bureau of Meteorology gives more info about the six seasons of the East Coast.

Finally, if you’re going hardcore, check out this Survival and Self Sufficiency website that shows you all the native (and introduced) plants in the Sydney/Blue Mountains region that are edible. Though from the look of the site (the author talks a lot about the impending crash of the global economy) not all of these plants will be fun to eat.


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