Home grown heroes: Three Australian native ingredients you need to know

From finger lime to Kakadu plum, and a pink berry called quandong – bush tucker is appearing in everything from face wash to gin and on the menus of our top restaurants. Here are three of our favourite local heroes.

Forget charcoal and coconut oil, goji berries or chia seeds – Australian native ingredients have all the super nutrients you'll ever need. Packed with flavour and possibly growing in your backyard, these ingredients are becoming favoured the world over, and are popping up in cult face masks, in craft beer, and sprinkled in the healthiest of green smoothies.

But what to try and where to start? We break it down, by berry, bush, leaves, and seeds. 

The MVP: Kakadu plum 

With the highest vitamin C content of any fruit in the world, Kakadu plum is Australia's superstar superfood. It's got up to 100 times more vitamin C than an orange and has so many complex antioxidants, it's currently being used in Alzheimer’s research. It's got the same amount of folate as a stalk of broccoli, has more antioxidants than blueberries, and is an excellent source of vitamin E and iron. Kakadu plum is considered a gift of the Dreamtime and has been used as both food and medicine by indigenous Australians for millennia. 

Good for: Kakadu plum is celebrated for its medicinal properties - it's a known antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agent. It's great as an edible supplement, but also in skincare due to its rich vitamin C content.

Try it here: Sprinkle a little Kakadu plum powder on your morning smoothie - we love Kakadu Plum Co's sachets, where the powerful nutritional composition and unique flavour have been preserved. The berries can also be used to make jam. 

Bayeco serum with Kakadu Plum

For skincare, try new Australian line Bayeco. Founded by a pharmacist, Bayeco marries Kakadu plum with green tea and other native botanicals in a cleanser, serum, and night cream trio. 

The protector: Australian finger lime

Native to the northern coast of Australia and found on a rare rainforest tree - finger limes have been enjoyed by Indigenous Australian's for thousands of years because of its ability to protect people from disease. They are packed with folate, potassium, and vitamins C and E and come in a brilliant range of colours: green, yellow, purple, pink and bright red. When sliced open, the shell reveals caviar-like pearls, which are filled with lemon-lime juice.

Good for: Vitamin E is one of the most important antioxidants in human cell protection and disease prevention, meaning the finger lime is a great supplement to ward off a winter cold and more. 

Try it here: Favoured by inventive chefs like Rene Redzepi and Kylie Kwong, the finger lime will add a little intrigue and zest to fish or a gourmet dessert. Finger limes are also the hero in a number of new Australian-made craft gins - like Four Pillars' Navy Strength Gin, for example. 

Cult Australian beauty brand Sand and Sky use a heavy helping of Australian native ingredients in their sellout clay mask - including Australian pink clay, Kakadu plum, old man's weed, and sea kelp. They've just revealed a new facial scrub, which features a slathering of finger lime to speed up cell turnover and create a fresh glow. 

Sand and Sky scrub with Australian finger lime

The energiser: Quandong 

Like other Australian superfoods, the quandong berry is a wonderful source of Vitamin C and E, but it's also brimming with folate, magnesium, and calcium. Also known as the 'wild peach', indigenous Australians considered the crimson-coloured berry to be a great substitute for meat as it is rich in iron and zinc. 

Good for: As well as being an energy booster, the fruit has a range of complex oils - meaning it has great anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities. 

Try it here: Quandong is very versatile in its culinary applications - as a herbal infusion, in a pie, or as a sweet jam. On the more creative side is Black Gate distillery's Quandong Kernel Eau de Vie, a liqueur created especially for Rene Redzepi's Noma pop up in Sydney. 

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