MasterChef's Guide to Bushtucker

Published: 06 July 2018

MasterChef Australia

What better way to welcome the future King of England than with a truly Australian feast made from native ingredients… including ants! Discover some of the fabulous bush tucker foods the contestants used when cooking for Prince Charles, as well as tips and tricks for using them at home

Pigface 

MasterChef Australia

What is it? 

Pigface is an Australian succulent that grows bright, pink flowers with a yellow centre. Once ripened, the red, plump fruit tastes similar to an apple or a strawberry. The best part about Pigface is that everything from its leaves to the flower is edible.

Where can it be found? 

Pigface is commonly grown near the sea or on sand dunes. It’s most likely you have walked past this succulent on your way to the beach.

How can it be used? 

The salty flavour of Pigface makes for a great addition to meat, seafood and eggs. Pigface can simply be used as a salt substitute. Try chopping up the succulent leaves, and adding it to a tartare sauce, just like Chloe did for her Australian Fish and Chips.

Tips 

Not only is this plant edible, the juices of the leaves can be used to soothe skin and might even assist in healing burns.

Geraldton Wax

MasterChef Australia

What is it? 

Geraldton wax is an Australian native shrub that produces mostly pink and white flowers. The stems of Geraldton wax contain a lovely lime and lemongrass flavour.

Where can it be found? 

Geraldton wax is a Western Australian plant.

How can it be used? 

Gary crushes the leaves between his fingers to unleash it’s citrus-like flavours and fragrance. Geraldton wax can be used on various meats such as kangaroo or beef, or with other fruits and vegetables.

Tips 

The petals of the geraldton wax flower can be added in a salad or used as a garnish.

Finger Lime

MasterChef Australia

What is it? 

Finger lime is a long, green citrus fruit that contains tiny capsules of caviar-like pearls inside.

Where can it be found? 

Finger limes flourish in a natural rain forest environment.

How can it be used? 

Only cut finger limes cross ways, not length ways! After cutting, squeeze out the lime pearls like you would tooth paste. Just like a lemon or lime, finger limes can be used on a variety of dishes from sweet to savoury.

Tips 

The pinker the inside of the finger lime is, the sweeter it will taste.

Quandong

MasterChef Australia

What is it? 

Quandong is a desert berry that is part of the sandalwood family. This shiny and bright red fruit has a sweet, yet tart flavour and contains twice the amount of vitamin c than an orange.

Where can it be found? 

Quandong grows mostly throughout arid areas of Australia and is mostly purchased in dry halves.

How can it be used? 

Due to its tart taste and hard surface, quandong should not be eaten raw. Quandong should be washed and stoned before use and is mostly found in dessert or sweet recipes such as pies, chutneys and jams.

Tips

Quandong is perfect to pick during the festive season, and makes for a great decoration or garnish.

Wattle Seed

MasterChef Australia

What is it? 

Wattle seed grows as a hard, brown husk that contains seeds. This ingredient is rich in protein and contains nutty and coffee-like flavours.

Where can it be found? 

Wattle seed grows in arid areas such as Alice Springs and Broken Hill. This ingredient is mostly purchased as roasted ground powder.

How can it be used? 

Most Indigenous Australians used wattle seed to make a form of flour, which was then baked in an underground oven. This formed bush bread or damper, which is still commonly made today. Try using wattle seed by following Chloe’s pumpkin and wattle seed crackers recipe.

Tips 

Wattle seed powder can be used to thicken sauces.

Pepperberry

MasterChef Australia

What is it? 

Pepperberries grow with leafy stalks, red stems and pea-sized berries. This sweet ingredient has a hot and peppery aftertaste that is stronger than a peppercorn!

Where can it be found? 

Pepperberries are grown in Tasmania and can be purchased ground or whole

How can it be used? 

If using whole pepperberries, they should be ground just before use. This ingredient tastes great in sauces, vinaigrettes or among other items on a cheeseboard. They may be small, but they pack a punch! Try adding pepperberries to a fried cracker, just like Reece did in his royal team challenge.

Tips 

Use pepperberries with care as their hot aftertaste can linger and build in heat over a period of 5 minutes!

Green Ants

MasterChef Australia

What is it? 

Green ants have a purple, greenish metallic appearance and contain both sweet and sour flavours.

Green Ants 

Green ants are found in almost every state of Australia, but you can mostly find them in open woodland areas.

How can it be used? 

This lemon-like ingredient can be seen added to drinks such as lemonade and gin. The acidic bite of green ants can lift the flavour and texture of a dish and can be used as a garnish, just like Khanh did for his Wallaby Tartar recipe.

Tips 

The larvae of their nest is also edible!

Muntries

MasterChef Australia

What is it? 

Also known as ‘Emu Apples’ or ‘native cranberries’, muntries grow in bunches, starting out a greenish-red and turning purple as they ripen.

Where can it be found? 

The low growing shrub is found on the south coast of Australia, and can be purchased fresh, frozen or dried.

How can it be used? 

The sweet and spicy apple-like flavours of muntries make for a great addition to desserts, jams, chutneys and wine. Muntries can be pounded with a mortar and pestle, to create a paste before cooking. Try using this ingredient as a garnish to a dish

Tips 

Muntries make a great substitute for sultanas!