Benefits And Nutrition Of Akudjura (Bush Tomato) For Health

Benefits And Nutrition Of Akudjura (Bush Tomato) For Health

Akudjura (Bush Tomato)

Akudjura (or the Australian desert raisin) known to Australians as bush tomatoes, the dried fruits of several members of the Solanum species grow wild in the desserts of western and central Australia. They have a flavor that some have likened to sun-dried tomatoes with undertones of chocolate and caramel.

Benefits Of Akudjura (Bush Tomato) For Health
Akudjura (Bush Tomato)

Like many plants of the Solanum genus, desert raisin is a small bush and has a thorny aspect. Akudjura (Bush Tomato) is a fast-growing shrub that fruits prolifically the year after fire or good rains. Akudjura can also grow back after being dormant as root stock for years after drought years. The vitamin C-rich fruit are 1–3 cm in diameter and yellow in color when fully ripe. They dry on the bush and look like raisins. These fruits have a strong, pungent taste of tamarillo and caramel that makes them popular for use in sauces and condiments.

The dried Akudjura fruits are traditionally collected from the small, prickly, tomato-like Akudjura bushes in late Autumn or early Winter. The wild uncultivated Akudjura fruit mature and are available only two months of the year. Today, the Akudjura are grown commercially in the central desert areas of Australia by Aboriginal communities. Modern irrigation techniques have extended the fruiting season to as much as eight months of the year.

Nutrition of Akudjura (Bush Tomato)

The berries are a good source of carbohydrates and vitamin C. 

Culinary Uses of Akudjura (Bush Tomato)

The Akudjura is closely related to the typical garden tomato (both belong to the Solanaceae family,) and can be found either whole or as a pre-ground powder. The ground product, (sold as "Kutjera powder") is easily added to bread mixes, scones, biscuits, salads, sauces, cheese dishes, chutneys, and stews or mixed into butter. The Akudjura flavor matures on standing or with extended cooking and can be used in addition too, or to replace traditional tomato in tomato-based pasta sauces and pizzas.

Benefits And Nutrition Of Akudjura (Bush Tomato) For Health
Akudjura (Australian desert raisin) Picture

The unique flavour of bush tomato is best used in small quantities because using too much will cause the bitter sharp notes to dominate and overpower the fruity, sweet, caramel flavours.

Whole bush tomatoes can be added to long,slow-cooked dishes such as soups and casseroles.

The strong flavour of Akudjura spice (Bush Tomatoes) is well suited to lamb and red meats particularly and is great in salsa's, relishes and chutney's. Akudjura can be eaten by themselves as a pungent flavor quencher similar to an olive and are a unique delicacy when served with cheese assortments.

A savoury bread flavoured with bold herbs rosemary and thyme can marry well with bush tomato, either baked within or soaked and used as a topping.

Even a spread made with olives and garlic can take advantage of the strong, raisin-like character that blooms from ground bush tomato.

Akudjura (Bush Tomato) also works well as a coating for grilled fish, such as salmon or tuna.

Akudjura (Bush Tomato) combines particularly well with ground coriander seed, wattleseed, lemon myrtle and a little salt for rubbing onto white and red meats before grilling,barbecuing or stir frying.

A tangy pepper steak spice can be made by pounding black and white peppercorns, mustard seeds, salt and akudjura in a pestle and mortar.