Australian Bush Food


Botanical name: Solanum centrale
Family: Solanaceae
Other names: Akatjurra
Wild Tomato
Bush Tomato
Desert Raisain

Akudjura is a very valuable source of food to the Aboriginal tribes who traditionally gathered large amounts of this fruit from the dry outback where it grows wild. As the Aboriginal people have no written language the word Akudjura itself has come to be spelt differently in different areas. Some of these different versions are Akatjurra and Akatjera.

Only one of a few edible varieties, Akudjura is native to the arid regions of central and Western Australia to South Australia and the Northern Territory. The Aboriginal tribes have gathered these dried fruits for thousands of years relying on them as a staple at certain times of the year. They would grind the fruits into a paste which was then rolled into large balls which were sun-dried and then stored for use in times when food was scarce. Many wild tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C and early desert explorers and drovers (herders of cattle and sheep) prevented scurvy by including them in their stews and meals.

This small shrub has pale green-grey leaves with fine hairs and grows very quickly. Like many Australian plants this shrub thrives after bushfires and grows well in very poor, dry conditions. The green fruits dry out on the bush, turning yellow and wrinkled, resembling raisins when ripe. Unripe fruits contain toxic factors and it is important that the fruits must be fully ripened before picking and use. The Akudjura is closely related to the typical garden tomato as they both belong to the Solanaceae family.
The ground Akudjura appears as an orange-brown powder with a flavour that is a combination of sun-dried tomatoes and caramel. Today, Akudjura is used in a variety of recipes that include soups, sauces, dressings, pesto, marinades, salsa, chutney, as a seasoning, and in bakery products such as scones, foccacia and breads. It can also be used to replace traditional tomato in tomato-based pasta sauces and pizzas. Our Akudjura has a shelf-life of 12 months when kept below 20°C in original packaging.

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