FORAGER: Brenda Parsons makes delicious meals from native indigenous ingredients.
FORAGER: Brenda Parsons makes delicious meals from native indigenous ingredients. Elyse Wurm

Bush tucker has a place on modern plates, if you can find it

NATURE is a supermarket but Brenda Parsons just wishes more people knew about the delicious food that often grows around their feet.

Bunya nuts can be turned into pesto and the desert raisin can be used like a tomato, adding a slightly tart flavour to pasta sauces.

Ms Parsons spends time foraging for these native ingredients to create bush tucker that indigenous people have been surviving on for thousands of years.

From her home at Maryvale, Ms Parsons has been able to grow lemon myrtle and sources native figs.

"There are myths that people wandered to look for food but they don't understand how much Aboriginal people knew their countries and what grew where," she said.

"You always hear about people hunting for big kangaroos but the women did all the smaller things."

Ms Parsons said lots of native ingredients were lost when land was cleared for agriculture and the knowledge of how they could be used was destroyed with it.

But many ingredients are rich in medicinal properties, such as vitamin C, if only people knew where to look.

Ms Parsons said Aboriginal people even helped Captain Cook and his fleet who arrived on Australian shores with scurvy.

"Aboriginal people were healthy before colonisation, the yams actually prevents diabetes," she said.

Ms Parsons prepared tastings of native ingredients for the NAIDOC community luncheon at the Warwick Redbacks AFC club house today.

Wattle seeds were used in cake and bunya nuts were turned into soup, giving a glimpse into how this lesser-used ingredients could be made into great additions on modern day plates.


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