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Monday, 27 September  2004  Bush Foods

This week on English Bites it's plants and gardens. In today's episode, we go to Queensland to find out about some very old and delicious Australian foods.

COLIN CAMPBELL: For centuries, bush food plants have been an integral part of the indigenous people's staple food.

It's been estimated that there are upwards of 5,000 different bush food plant species right across Australia, so the Aboriginal people had a secure and very diverse supply of interesting food.

There's been an incredible resurgence of the growing and use of bush tucker plants. And a lot of that interest is brought about by people who are passionate the growing and those who know how to use them.

I've come to a nursery at Kenilworth behind Queensland's Sunshine Coast where's there's a couple who are passionate about it - Graham White and Veronica Cougan.

G'day. Graham, how did you get interested in bush tucker plants.

GRAHAM WHITE: Well Col, about 7 years Ronnie and I developed our interest in bush foods by incorporating bush foods in revegetation plantings that we were doing in the Sunshine Coast and we noticed an interest, a growing interest in the public about bush foods

So one thing lead to another and the bush food nursery grew from there.

If you treat them as a fruit tree not as a native plant, and you give them a little bit of care and attention as you would a normal fruit tree, then they will reward you with a bountiful harvest.

COLIN CAMPBELL: I bet you'll never guess: there are two things I like better than gardening, and one of them's eating, and

Dale Scott is just the lady to fill me up with some wonderful tucker.


COLIN CAMPBELL: How are ya? Dale you're an indigenous lady, what tribe do you come from?

DALE SCOTT: I'm from Kooma, Kooma tribal lands, in Dirranbandi.

COLIN CAMPBELL: Dale, how do you go about using all these things you've got on the table?

DALE SCOTT: Alright, the paperbark here, I wrap damper and whole fish in that and either put it into a hot oven or put it onto your barbeque.

Little bit of oil seeps out into the dish itself and imparts a bit of a flavour.

COLIN CAMPBELL: What about the lime?

DALE SCOTT: This lime here is a large, native lime, very nice in cool drinks, marmalades, and squeezed over your seafood.

COLIN CAMPBELL: What about the leaves?

DALE SCOTT: These are lemon myrtle leaves, very, very high in oil content as you can see they're very glossy, and these are used dry, fresh or ground.

This one here is the ground lemon myrtle, so that's the leaf that been ground up.

COLIN CAMPBELL: And what about that brown stuff?

DALE SCOTT: Oh that's wattle seed, that's roasted wattle seed. These are beautiful. Tastes like hazelnut, coffee and chocolate.

A lot of our native herbs and spices are much stronger than the domesticated ones that we have. And therefore only use a little bit at a time until you really get used to it.

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English Bites - Bush Foods
story notes

upwards of
Upwards of here means more than or greater than.
There are upwards of a million species of insect.

The suffix -wards is the subject of today's spotlight.


varied, of different types

Notice that the reporter speaks in a very informal way, with a strong Australian accent.

Saying g’day is a common way of greeting people.

It's a short way of saying good day.

Tucker is a slang Australian expression for food.

Other slang terms for food are chow, nosh and grub.


Revegetation is the process of bringing back plants to an area.

fill me up
To fill someone up means to feed them full of food, or to completely satisfy them.

Paperbark is an Australian native tree that has bark as thin as paper

Damper is an Australian bush bread, that’s made from flour and water.

When you’re camping or out in the bush, you can cook it on a stick in a fire, or in a camp oven.

jams made from citrus fruits

Citrus fruits are things like limes, lemons and oranges.


Find out how to say where things are going.

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