Australian Bush Food


Botanical name: Acacia victoriae
Family: Acacia
Other names: Elegant Wattle Gundabluey
Kanaparlku (Walpiri tribe name)

Wattleseed grows naturally and is widespread throughout much of central and Western Australia and fruits during December and January. Although Acacia is the second largest genus in Australia, made of over 700 species there is only around 47 edible species, and of these the Acacia victoriae is the most widely consumed species because of its larger seeds and is generally regarded as having a superior flavour. A. victoriae is a relatively fast growing species adapted to low rainfall and extreme temperatures which occur in these areas and is a common species throughout the Lands of the Pitjantjatjara tribe of central Australia.

Wattleseed has been collected and used as a food source by Australian Aborigines for many thousands of years. As it is very high in protein the Aboriginal people have used Wattleseed as a staple in their diet. The seed would be ground into a paste and mixed with water to form small flat cakes which were then baked in coals and eaten or stored for later. They also ground the dried seeds between stones to form flour which was then eaten raw or cooked in ashes to make a damper (unleavened bread). In central Australia seeds are by far the most important plant food source as they are high in proteins, carbohydrates and fats and are easily collected.

Although Wattle is mainly used as a food source it has many other uses such as providing shelter, and wood for tools, musical instruments and weapons. As A. victoriae is a relatively fast grower adapted to areas of low rainfall and extreme temperatures they are planted to provide windbreaks, reduce erosion and to revegetate damaged sites

As a result of an aid program by the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation) Division of Forestry in Canberra, a number of Australian Acacias from matching climactic regions were introduced in sub-Saharan Africa in the 1970's to help combat desertification and to be used in Niger and other places in Africa as a source of firewood and for soil stabilization and windbreaks. It wasn't until the late 1980's that these Acacias were realised to have significant potential as a food source for African people as they were found to produce prolific crops of seed even during drought.

Wattleseed ground has the appearance of ground coffee and imparts a flavour and aroma that is a fusion of chocolate/coffee/hazelnut. It is used for flavouring, desserts such as cakes, pastries and breads and to make beverages. Wattleseed is caffeine free. It acts as an emulsifier and in cream stops the water from migrating out of the emulsion, strongly stabilising whipped cream products naturally. This product has a shelf life of 12 months when stored below 20°C in original packaging away from bright light.

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