Indigenous Bush Foods for the Vegepod

As much as we love growing veggies at Vegepod HQ, we also love learning about the Indigenous bush food plants that have been used for thousands of years by the First Nations people of Australia and growing them in our Vegepods. 

Not only do they provide amazing health benefits but they are often super versatile, with both medicinal and culinary uses for home cooking!

Our mates at Bush to Bowl , who are a 100% First Nations owned social enterprise specialising in bush foods, gave us some ideas for plants you can grow in your contained Vegepod at home:

Native Thyme - Prostanthera incisa 
Small shrub with aromatic foliage that smells like a mixture of thyme, oregano, rosemary & mint, lovely purple flowers through spring.
Lightly trim to maintain smaller size in the Vegepod                             
USES: fresh in drinks or dried as a substitute for thyme when cooking- leaves & flowers can be used for herbal tea.

Native River Mint - Mentha australis
Creeping ground cover much like common mint but with more peppermint/spearmint taste, prefers shadier spaces with damp soil.
Grows fast so keep trimmed and best to allocate it's own space as it will spread like common mint
USES: fresh or dried in drinks, desserts, cocktails, savoury meals, dressings & dips- also used as a medicinal herb and as a natural mozzie repellent
Midyim Berry - Austromyrtus dulcis
Low growing shrub that can tolerate some shade, produces yummy spotted berries that have a marshmallow flavour
Lightly trim to maintain smaller size in the Vegepod
USES: eat fresh from the bush or use in desserts, fruit salad & jams

Pepperberry - Tasmannia lanceolata
For those who like a bit of spice, the leaves and berries of this shrub can be used for a hit of pepper instead of common black pepper- best grown protected from strong winds and frosts
Lightly trim to maintain smaller bushier size in the Vegepod
USES: leaves or berries can be used fresh or dried to add strong spice to sauces with meats, curries and cheeses
Apple Berry - Billarderia scandens
Scrambling climber that produces round fruit that has the perfect sweet and sour flavour balance- crisp like an apple but juicy like a berry with pretty flowers too!
Can be trained with some chicken wire in the Vegepod to allow it to scramble, does not tolerate consistent dry periods, wait for fruit to turn green to yellow and soften before harvesting
USES: eat fresh or use in desserts, fruit salad, jams & preserves
Lemon Myrtle - Backhousia citriodora
Evergreen tree with leaves that smell like lemon-sherbet and fluffy white flowers- high oil content in leaves
Trim to maintain shrubbiness to suit the Vegepod size
USES: brew for medicinal tea that helps with upset stomachs- perfect for drinks, desserts, in a crumb for chicken schnitzel and for infusing spirits!
Oldman Saltbush - Atriplex nummuleria
Tough low spreading shrub with lovely grey foliage, leaves have earthy and salty flavour as they draw the salt from coastal soil areas
Trim to maintain shrubbiness to suit the Vegepod size
USES: fresh or dried as salt substitute, sprinkle over salads, pasta, roasts or oven baked veggies
Bush Basil - Plectranthus graveolens
Traditionally used as a ceremonial herb, this low growing shrub is a combination of basil, sage and mint flavours- super tough & produces blue/purple flower spikes during spring/summer
Trim to maintain shrubbiness to suit the Vegepod size
USES: fresh or dried with italian cooking flavours especially tomato & garlic, scatter on pizzas or use small amounts with pine nuts & olive oil for a homemade pesto
Native Parsley - Apium prostratum 
Coastal native that was eaten by early colonists to survive, very closely related to European parsley but with more of a zing
Pick stems often to maintain bushiness
USES: dried or fresh (blanch to minimise flavour if needed) as a garnish for salads, meats, seafood and soups- seeds can also be utilised for a cooking spice
Warrigal Greens - Tetragonia tetragonioides
Fleshy lush groundcover mainly growing in sandy soils along eastern NSW coastline, substitute for spinach with slight saltiness 
Trim regularly to keep compact in the Vegepod
USES: mixed into pesto, with ricotta in pasta, salads and omelettes
MUST be blanched or baked before use
Check out the guys at Bush to Bowl or your local nursery to start growing some of these bush foods in your Vegepod! 

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