Herb & Spice Studies- Akudjera

(Photo courtesy of AidanBrooksSpices)

By no means is any post I do under this heading meant to be complete, gospel, etc. It is merely information I have gleaned from various books I own and am sharing.

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Akudjera( Solanum Centrale, Solancae) is more commonly known as Bush Tomato. Other names include Kutjera, Kamparapa and Akutjura.

It is a hardy perennial with woody stems, bearing long 2-3 1/4" 'spikes', grey green leaves with a soft texture and violet flowers, similar to Deadly Nightshade, which makes sense as it is in the same family.

The berries ('tomatoes') are 3/4" in size, purple-green when young, turning pale yellow when fully ripe. When dried, they are 1/3-1/2" in size and darken to a chocolate brown color with a chewy, raisin like texture.

They have a distinct aroma similar to caramel mixed with sundried tomatoes and has baked background notes. The initial taste is caramel like, with a bitter aftertaste that lingers, leaving you with a refreshed feeling.

Bust Tomato is native to western and central Australia, and is widely used in what is termed 'bush foods', as well as by the Aboriginal peoples. It is one of the oldest spices known to mankind. Has a tendency to thrive after a bush fire. It is dried on the plant itself, then gathered and ground with water to form a thick paste. It is rich in vitamin C.

The natural drying process reduces the presence of alkaloids and concentrates the natural flavors of the fruit. It is best kept stored in airtight containers out of direct sun, away from heat and humidity.

Commonly used in slow cooked dishes, soups, casseroles, apple crumbles, risottos, white and red meats as a rub, grilled meats and veggies, BBQ, stir-fry and even cookies. It combines very well with salt, pepper, ground coriander, wattleseed, lemon myrtle, mustard and thyme.

Available online here- http://bushfoodshop.com/category1_1.htm
http://www.oxfamshop.org.au/pages/3123546 (Please note, that while I do have Ground Wattleseed from this site, I have not tried anything else, nor have I personally ordered from them. The Ground Wattleseed was a gift from a friend in Australia.}:) )

Bibliography entry here.