Packed full of antioxidants, Australian Native foods are going global | ABC News

This is ground Karrajong seed here and
that makes a beautiful nutritional flour. We use Lemon Aspen which is a native berry. We had some pickled Youlk,
some roasted Youlk, finishing off with some damper and smoked butter. At the University of Queensland we’ve
been working on bush foods for the past 12 years and then whenever we talk about
foods like Wattleseeds or Kakadu plums people are like, what is that? It’s a huge amount of plants that actually have food and botanical properties but we
have a very small amount that are actually in production. We’re very excited to be part of an
initiative that is trying to train a cohort of people that can take a new
industry forward. The consumer wants foods that are healthy, they want less
processed food. So they want foods that are wholesome so this Centre can
deliver to that need. All the research that we’ve done is about the health
benefits and nutritional benefits of Australian native food. Fruits, oils,
leaves and tubers and what we found is that basically Australian native food is
very, very high in nutritional value, it’s very, very high in antioxidants. All the
main priority species are at least equal to or higher than the blueberry. They got a big seed in them too, so we try and keep those seeds. I think for Australia native foods this
is the first. We work with Indigenous communities converting that
ethnobotanical knowledge to products of commercial value. When the Australian
Research Council supported this grant this really opens a lot of doors for us. Universities are playing and have played a really important part around research.
So we have a great appreciation for the need for traditional ecological
knowledge or traditional knowledge to be married with science and develop
something from that marriage that is beneficial for community as well as the
science community and then of course becomes something that’s promoting how unique Australia is to the rest of the world. So the Australian native foods
have potent bioactive and nutritional properties. So for example if you take
the Kakadu plum it is very high in vitamin C and antioxidants. If you look
at the Green plums the folate levels are very high and folate is something that
is in high demand now for health. When you look at Wattleseed it has high zinc
and iron content and dietary fiber and proteins. So if you can incorporate that
into your diet then you get those nutrients in. The first Australians have been using
these foods, traditional uses for thousands of years and we haven’t been
that good at understanding those traditional uses and how we can most
sensitively respectfully integrate those into the sort of global cuisine that we
all enjoy now in the in the cities around Australia. So a lot of what we’re
trying to do here is to find the right routes by which we can integrate
some of the knowledge that’s come from traditional uses of plants,
respecting the wishes of the communities that are growing and looking after and
managing these plants, but in a way that generates economic benefits for those
communities and also creates something which is different to what’s currently
available. It’s very important to have the intellectual property and the
relationship around who’s doing what and what we’re gaining, what each is
expecting from that relationship developed right up front. It would be
awesome to be able to then have that knowledge and that partnership result in
branded products because ultimately the outcome is so that community whether its individual family groups, whether its whole of community or regional
communities can actually have some benefit financially and economically
from this growing industry in Australia. We’ve got the food scientists and the
chemists who will be working on the food composition toxicity safety and then we
also have the UQ law who is looking at benefit sharing, intellectual property,
marketing and branding and what that implies and then we also have social
scientists who will look at you know the social impact that we will have when we
work with communities. Australian native food plants and botanical plants, we do know of 6,400 at the moment but the actual industry is
probably dealing with about 35 of those of which about 18 are what we call
priority species in other words in commercial production. The challenges are actually getting these plants into a commercial production system that can
supply mainstream Australian agricultural produce. It makes a lot of
sense to grow Australian plants in Australia. We have the health and nutritional
benefits and then we have the unique flavours of Australian natives which I
know chefs from France, chefs from Germany, chefs in England, The States all
rave over. Why aren’t we using these more in our actual cuisine?

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  1. We have so much which is unique; I know that making bread from acacia/wattle seed was important in the area I live. There will be much more traditional food to be discovered.

  2. Well get on with it before China takes over all our land. Start mass planting.orchards and get some famous chefs on board to put the word out

  3. 98% of bush tucker is bland…the cost to make a tasty meal is to high,you'll be paying $100 for a meal…its bush tucker not fine dining

  4. The term "first Australians'" is a very deceptive political correct heresy. Just be honest. Call them by their name. Aborigines. This IS THEIR LAND, NOT OURS!

  5. I have been planting multiple varieties of midyim berry, most people I get to try them love them, better than blueberries in my opinion.

  6. There are dozens of food producers in Australia producing honey, oils, jams, sauces, canned fruit, cordials etc but the major supermarkets will not stock them as the producers do not produce enough. Not even in the towns where the small producers operate.

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