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Keith_W

Foraging for food in Victoria

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Lately I have grown more adventurous - trying things I normally wouldn't eat. Last night I tried eating a tulip petal - it was delicious. Slightly sweet and not offensive at all.

I know that Ben Shewry forages for herbs and plants that grow wild in Melbourne. Unfortunately I am not as clever as Ben and I don't know what is edible, and what isn't. Does anybody know what plants that grow wild can be eaten? Preferably with a picture :)


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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Just do a Google Search for Australian bush tucker

see what I got with just this one search.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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If you go to Amazon.com and look for Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate you'll find that along with numerous books on foraging.

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Just do a Google Search for Australian bush tucker

see what I got with just this one search.

The problem with that is that hardly anything that would qualify as 'Australian bush tucker' (at least in the context Australians use that term, generally understood to be native plants and fauna etc.) grows around Melbourne. There is some of course, but in the environment of Melbourne city, it's mostly been replanted over time with non-indigenous plants.

Keith - try this. You can search by state. http://weedyconnection.com/database/


Edited by rarerollingobject (log)

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Thanks for your help everyone.

andiesenji, I do have a book on Australian bush tucker. However - as rollingobject says, it is not applicable to Victoria. Very few of those species grow down here. They are more applicable to Queensland or the Northern Territory, but not Victoria.

Sylvia - thank you for your suggestion. I will look for that book.

rollingobject - very helpful link, thank you! I have seen some blackberries grow wild (e.g. on Flinders Street, on the fencing right next to the main road) but I haven't been game to pluck one to try.


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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Perhaps I will use this thread as a depository of information for stuff I have found. Here is one.

tn_soursob.jpg

Oxalis spp.

Weedyconnection link

"Leaves and flowers: raw or cooked. A pleasant lemony flavour, they make a nice flavouring in salads. The leaves are available from June to October and the flowers from December to April, or even later in mild autumns. Use in moderation, see notes at top of sheet."

Appears as if Oxalic acid is a Calcium binder and can reduce intestinal absorption of Calcium - hence the recommendation that it is fine as a garnish or to enhance salads, but should not be eaten in large quantities.

I just realized that I threw out a large quantity of this a couple of weeks ago when I thoroughly weeded my garden! When it grows back (as it inevitably will) I will pluck a few leaves to try!


Edited by Keith_W (log)

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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Thanks ChrisZ. I have found another site - Weeds Australia. This is starting to get very interesting!


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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We call that oxalis "sour grass". Its pretty common for kids around here to gnaw on a flowerstem while playing. I've never seen the flowers or leaves in a salad. May have to taste a flower sometime. Have you? What did you think?


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Hello Aman, my garden has been thoroughly deweeded. I have been looking for the first signs of weeds appearing, when JOY OH JOY I spotted an Oxalis sprout! I eagerly ripped the poor weed from the earth, gave it a rinse, and popped it in my mouth. Very tart, like lemon. Apparently the flowers and leaves can be eaten, so I suppose I would use it as a garnish for fish and chicken, or in salads.


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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I was told by the fellow at the Tower Hill visitor centre that they put black wattle seeds in their damper and that they have medicinal properties (go there right now while the wattles are blooming - spectacular spot).

Gardening Australia said Oxalis should be cooked and I thought they said it was to remove the oxalic acid.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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This article on foraging for food appeared in The Age today, so I thought I would post it here as a handy reference.

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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Two days ago I had the...pleasant experience of brushing my barefoot against a nettle when clearing out the chook pen. When I was telling an older local fellow about my silliness is not realising it was nettle until the damage was done and he told me that his mother and many people in her generation used to collect nettles from around the woolsheds to use for cooked greens. Why the woolsheds - I don't know...

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I know this topic is now quite old, but I noticed that the City of Darebin Libraries are running a 'free greens' edible weeds workshop in Northcote, Melbourne. Doris Pozzi, author of the book Edible Weeds and Garden Plants of Melbourne is speaking. I was going to register myself, unfortunately it's sold out, but you can join the waiting list online here.

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