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Australian Indigenous Bush Foods

Anmatyerre Anwekety Arlatyey Australian Indigenous Bush Foods Bush Foods Bush Tucker

Bush tucker, or bush food, is any food that is native to Australia. Australian Aboriginals have used the environment around them for generations, living off a diet that is high in protein, fibre, and micro nutrients, and low in sugars. Much of the bush tucker eaten then is still available and eaten today.

There are many different types of Bush Tucker foods:

  • nuts and seeds (eg. Acacia, Macadamia, Bunya nuts)
  • flavourings and native spices (eg. bush pepper, lemon myrtle)
  • berries (eg. Astroloma, some Solanum species)
  • fruits (eg. Quandong, Ficus macrophylla, Syzygium, bush plum or Anwekety*)
  • vegetables (eg. bush potatoes, yams, tomatoes)
  • wattle seeds ground to produce "flour"
  • drinks (eg. hot teas, infusions of nectar laden flowers, fruit juices)
  • plant roots ground to produce a paste or flour (eg. pencil yams or Arlatyey*)

*This name comes from the Anmatyerre language (names may vary for other languages)

Many female artists often paint Dreamings associated with bush foods. This is because bush foods are vital to Aboriginal people living a traditional life. Through painting these bush foods, it is a celebration of the growth of these plants to flourish from season to season.

There are many Australian plants that are edible; and even some that are in very high demand as foods throughout the world. The only food plant well established as a large commercial scale crop, which is native to Australia is the Macadamia.

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