The bush food garden here at Peppermint Ridge Farm continues to thrive and we are
enjoying watching all of the fruits fatten and the edible leaves glowing. The anise myrtle has a particular secret. If you eat the the new red leaves you will discover they taste like a soft sweet licorice lolly but without the sugar – bonus. The mature leaves are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals so perhaps the immature ones have some of these properties too.
The mature leaves make a wonderfully refreshing tea as well as great ice cream.
One of my interests is in encouraging gardeners to add bush foods to their flower and vegetable gardens. This year we have watched the growth of the finger limes, native blueberries, midyim berries, native currants and pepper berries and continue to propagate these in our bush food nursery.
Some of these fruits have very high nutritional qualities – the currant has very high levels of vitamin C, the pepper berries are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Not all of the fruits have been tested by food scientists, but anecdotal evidence of the native blueberry discusses upset stomachs from eating too many of them. This could be due to a high level of nutrients or a presence of toxins, so caution in eating untested plants is always advised and never go eating fruits or leaves on forest walks as some plants are proven to be toxic (always buy your edible native plants from a reliable and knowledgeable source).
Not only do the tested fruits taste wonderful, the plants are very attractive additions to garden design. These plants are easily grown organically as they are not susceptible to attack by fungus, bacteria or insects – this is from 16 years of trials here. Some plants need a little protection from strong hot & cold winds and dry soil such as the Mountain Pepper and Lemon Myrtle, bit most are tolerant of tough conditions.
It is a lot of fun making up new recipes for these wonderful plants, and over the Christmas break we made up a new recipe for our macadamia, salted caramel and chocolate tarts. The new base is a bit softer and has a lovely chewy texture which we think is a great improvement on the original recipe. The whole eating experience is one of a toasted macadamia biscuit base, a soft gooey salted caramel centre and a crisp dark chocolate topping. This recipe will feature at our next cooking school class next month.
Copyright © 2015 Julie Weatherhead, Peppermint Ridge Farm. All rights reserved.
At Peppermint Ridge Farm we are passionate about Australian native foods and spices. We run bush food cooking classes, tours of our Australian Spice Garden, and foodie events on site in Tynong North, Victoria. We are also available for private functions. Find us on our website: www.peppermintridgefarm.com.au.