The Wattle tree comes in many varieties but the product we use is the Acacia Retinodes which is deemed completely safe for human consumption. (Not all are so please do not attempt to harvest your own.) The flavour of the ground seeds is nutty, roasted and coffee with a slight bitterness. The Wattleseed has a low glycaemic index, has high levels of zinc, magnesium and is one of only two known sources selenium in Australian flora. Selenium is essential for the correct functioning of the thyroid gland and incredibly hard to obtain in our diets. There is some evidence to link Wattleseed to anti-tumour properties.
The seeds impart a wonderful nuttiness and savoury aspect to foods and increases the mouth feel and appeal of food. It is a flavour that is uncommon in modern western foods so gives a unique quality to foods and drinks.
The Native Pepperberry plant is naturally found in the cold high country in Southern New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. This tree grows to 5 metres, has green waxy leaves with cream flowers. The female plant develops dark brown berries, ripening in late autumn and early winter. The flavours of the Pepperberries are similar to the Indian variety that we commonly use but have a more fiery flavour and an herbal finish on the tongue. The intensity of this berry escalates with time peaking at the 5 minute interval.
The Native or Mountain Pepperberry plant has a long history of medicinal use in Aboriginal culture as an anti-inflammatory and as an aid for arthritis. The Australian government has researched many of the more well-known native plants to investigate the health benefits. The Native Pepperberry leaves and fruits have shown to have exceptionally high antioxidant levels (higher than almost any in the world), high contents of vitamin E & A, phenolic compounds, zinc and magnesium.
There is evidence to show that the Native Pepperberry fruit and leaves could aid in protection of the stomach lining, use as an anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic, anti-allergic and as a pain reliever.
Native Bush Mint
Native Bush Mint is an evergreen shrub which can grow to 2 metres in height. It grows naturally all along the South East mainland along riverbanks and rocky hillsides. It also grows in Tasmania but is considered a threatened species there. It is now being propagated for commercial use.
Bearing rounded leaves and flowering with a purple bloom in a ring shape, this herbal bush has a strong mint flavour with a warm thyme after-taste. Although traditionally used for curatives for cold and flu symptoms and stomach upsets, this herb is mostly used for culinary purposes now.
Reminiscent of its namesake, it works wonderfully in mojitos and mint juleps or any dish that asks for mint but it brings more depth to the flavor.
The Desert Raisin looks like a dried sultana and it is a rambling bush that grows in the desert areas of Australia. It is a hardy plant with fruit that dries on the bush. The plant is best to use in this form as the unripened fruit tends to have high levels of alkaloids.
The Desert Raisin is the second source of selenium in Australian flora and it has incredibly high levels of iron, zinc and magnesium. The traditional uses of this plant involved drying the fruit, mixing the ground raisins with tree resins and then rolling it into a ball.
In flavour the fruit has a sweet and savoury taste with a strong fruity after taste. The fruit is often used in a modern setting to make jams, pasta sauces and relishes.
Lemon Myrtle is a native Australian rainforest tree. This rare tree species is indigenous to moist, isolated locations along the subtropical and tropical east coast of Australia. The leaves of this tree have a wonderful aroma of lemongrass, lime and lemon. Lemon Myrtle has the strongest and purest source of natural citral (the flavour and scent of citrus).
Lemon Myrtle is known for its calming and uplifting properties, and is more antibacterial and antifungal than its other Australian counterparts – Tea tree and eucalyptus. It has high levels of vitamin A, E, zinc, magnesium, calcium and folate. There is evidence to suggest that the extract can be of use in the bloodstream as an aid for diabetes in that it slows release of glucose into the bloodstream. It also contains high levels of chlorogenic acid and lutein (an important protein in eye function) which is generally only available in animal products.