Native Hibiscus flower colours vary from yellow up north of Australia, to white in NSW, both with an attractive plum throat.
Hibiscus heterophyllus - Native hibiscus
Flower colours vary from yellow up north of Australia, to white in NSW, both with an attractive plum throat. They are prolific flowering plants and are hardy to most soils. They can be pruned after flowering to keep it as a small shrub. The flowers can be eaten raw as a vegetable in salads, or boiled in water. When boiled, the flowers turn red. Some make a Hibiscus tea drink, or syrup. The buds can also be boiled and eaten as a vegetable.
Tetragonia tetragonoides - Warrigal Greens
This spreading herb is native to protected coastal pockets and salty marshlands in both Australia and New Zealand. Captain cook was so impressed with this plant when he found it in NZ that he collected seed to take back to England where it remains a popular summer vegetable as it has a spinach flavour. Only leaves and young stems should be eaten and these both should be blanched for 3 minutes to remove soluble oxalates, and the water discarded.
Shallots, chopped, tossed until tender in olive oil
Warrigal greens, blanched
2 x 250 g cartons of low fat cottage cheese
(I used peppercorn and herb as I didn't have any native pepper or any other native herbs available)
1 x 250g carton of low fat sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Process all ingredients.
2. Chill overnight.
3. Do not taste until next day - taste is disappointing when just made but the flavours all went through and it was good the next day.
Rubus rosifolius - Native raspberries
Australia has its own raspberries, which are not cold climate plants, but plants of the subtropics and tropics rainforests. The plants grow on the edge of the rainforest where there is more light, but in cultivation they certainly grow in full sun. The sweet red berries can be gathered and eaten raw. They can be used as substitutes for the exotic raspberries and have a similar prickly sprawling habit.
Backhousia citriodora - Lemon-scented myrtle
A rainforest tree to approximately 8m, it’s used a lot in Australian modern cuisine. The leaves are used fresh or dried and ground and have a lemon and lime oil flavour. It makes a great tea. Clusters of cream flowers cover the tree in summer through to autumn. Great for cooking that needs lemon zest. Keep well watered in summer.
Austromyrtus dulcis – Midyim
This is a small rambling shrub with pointed leaves to 25 mm long, and which usually grows in sandy soil. Small white flowers are followed by round, blue-grey spotted fruits to 10 mm which ripen in autumn. The plant prefers full sun or partial shade, and is commonly grown in Queensland gardens. The midyim fruits were gathered and eaten fresh by aborigines. They have a pleasant, slightly aromatic taste.
Citris Australacica - Finger lime
The Finger Lime is a delicate understorey rainforest tree that naturally occurs in SE Queensland and Northern NSW. They are erect and grow up to 10m. The fruits can be green and cylindrical in shape, up to 100mm long and only about 20-30mm in diameter. They make an excellent pot specimen, have prominent thorns and do contain some seeds. They have a thin skin that ranges in colour from green, yellow, red, purple to even a black. The oil cells on the rind are small giving the fruit a great glossy appearance. Limes can be used in chutneys, jams, marmalades, savory sauces and refreshing drinks. The fruits can also be frozen successfully without destroying the fruits’ flavour or texture on thawing, thus allowing us to have access to the fruit all year around.