I love the idea of bush foods, but unfortunately – I don’t know much about them. I grew up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, and my family grew up on Missions in fruit picking areas – there wasn’t much bush food around.
So I was really excited when I heard Sharon Winsor, founder of Indigiearth was running a workshop pairing bush foods with Australian wines.
It was held at a fancy winery in Sydney, and as we sipped, Sharon passed around Kakadu plums, quandongs, rosella flower and other ingredients she uses for creating her award winning jams and chutneys.
We smelt and tasted herbs like wattle seed, river mint, native thyme, saltbush, and burnt our mouths on pepper berries.We learned that Kakadu plum has the highest recorded level of natural vitamin C content of any plant in the world — more than 100 times that of oranges.
Indigiearth is a 100% Aboriginal owned company, and Sharon makes it her business to source from and work with as many other Aboriginal owned companies as possible. Currently, Aboriginal people own only 5% of the bush food industry.
The flow on affects of Aboriginal owned bush foods companies could be enormous. Many Aboriginal companies prefer wild harvests. They know that trees and fruits grow better in their natural environment, that sustainable farming cares for country and provides more meaningful work. I know I would prefer to regenerate land and pick wild harvests out bush.
I love the story of why Sharon started her business. While it was out of necessity at the time, one of Sharon’s fondest childhood memories was going out collecting bush foods with her Nan. Today, she shares these foods with her customers out of “pure pride and passion”
I give Indigiearth products as corporate gifts and have been experimenting with the spices at home. Saltbush is the easiest to cook with, I guess because the flavour is familiar. Wattle seed is by far my favourite with a nutty / mocha flavour that goes great in cheesecakes or on ice cream. I also use the Indigiearth lemon myrtle infused olive oil on salads and love the tangy rosella jam on toast.