Friday, January 6, 2012

Bush Tucker ... the Bunya Nut way

as part of our move towards a sustainable lifestyle we knew that we would, at some point, be looking at the place of the aussie bush tucker in our day-to-day food feast.  it takes the idea of eating local to it's most intimate use ... the foods that have always thrived where you are and using those to their best in your day-to-day menu ...oh.... this could be fun!  however ... it is not something that has been high on the agenda.  bush tucker would be a part of our JustEarth farm .... but we have to have a farm first!  each thing in it's own time!

in our short time so far in our new community we have met many great people.  and there is this lovely couple that we enjoy, the husband being, well ... a bit passionate about his love for the native aussie way.  he is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to australian natives and how the aborigine population would value and use them.  we have had some great conversations.  not the least of which has been centered around australian trees, specifically the bunya pine.  a majestic and awesome tree that is indigenous to the sub tropics and towers elegantly above the canopy.  he has told me stories of the size of the bunya pine nut (they can kill you if they hit you on the head!), and how the aborigines would come together from all over the northern rivers and southern queensland to feast on these over sized nuts.

yeah, yeah .... sounds cool .... but i have other things that are higher on the radar right now.  right?

so up rocks this energetic mate of ours the other day, pops out of his car and drops in my arms this monster sized nut ... declaring it a bunya pine nut, wanted to show me and ... have fun!  off he goes leaving me with this jurrasic shaped nut with pointy bits all over it.

fast forward to bunya nut education 101!

so ... this thing, honestly is as big as you hear about.  i understand how it could kill someone.  this one weighed in at 3.9 kilo's .... and from what i have read is actually on the small side!

and now we move on how to pull this thing apart!  egad!

nope .... this didn't go .... i wonder....
woohoo!  the hammer and chisel
are actually gonna work!

and we end up with this fine specimen ....

looking good!
just like the book say it
now pulling the seeds out .... not all that hard once you figure it out.  there is a little "lip" that if you pull it away from the section it actually easily exposes the nut.

tada!  our first bunya nut!

and here they are all in there glory.  there are heaps of varying sizes and shapes.  and some look like they are well past their best ... but that's ok ... we're still up for giving it a go!

and what about cooking?

alas poor yorik ..... well .... i did what the research suggested and boiled them all for 20-30 minutes to get the hard shell off.  and they all turned to yuck.

my ultimate tools to try and get something out of the
middle .... but they were all bad.
not sure what went wrong.  the reading also indicated that you need to harvest the nuts within a week of the pine cone falling or they go off.  it could be that the cone was already beyond use.  but needless .... it was a fun exercise.  i gained a bit of an appreciation for all that the aborigines must have gone through to enjoy this thing.  all i can say is that when they are picked in time and cooked properly i have no doubt they are a great treat!  can't wait for next time!

and in the meantime .... watch out for these guys .... they are gorgeous, majestic and inspiring!


1 comment:

  1. Yum! Boiled Bunya nuts. Sorry they didn't work out Maggie, because they really are worth the effort. My Father-in-Law has a tree in his yard, so occasionally they have some when we are visiting.