Akudjura (Bush Tomato) (ground)
If there’s a brave new frontier in the spice trade, it’s most certainly in Australia. Wild-crafted spices like bush tomato (akudjura), native Australian berries are pale tan to dark brown, have a fruity, caramel-like flavor and slightly tangy acidity.
Bush tomato flavors stews and casseroles while the akudjura powder blends well with coriander seed and wattleseed to flavor meats from chicken and beef to full-flavored fish such as salmon and tuna.
The bush tomato shrub, a relative to the potato and tomato, is a hardy looking perennial with woody stems, soft, down-covered, grayish-green leaves and young rust-colored leaves set off attractive violet flowers in the shape of a five-pointed star.
The fruits are around 3/4 in. (2 cm) in diameter, purplish-green when young and paleyellow when ripe. As the sticky fruits dry, they shrink to 1/3 – 1/2 in. , the color darkens to chocolate-brown and a chewy, raisin-like consistency develops. Bush tomatoes ripen in the wild in the central desert and the fruits are allowed to dry naturally on the plant before gathering. This process is essential because during the drying process the level of alkaloids is reduced. Dehydration also concentrates the flavors in bush tomatoes and creates more full-bodied and complex flavor notes in the same way as drying in the sun modifies the flavors of many familiar spices from around the world.
Bush tomatoes have a distinct, pleasant ‘caramel mingled with sun-dried tomato’ aroma with comforting ‘baked’ background notes reminiscent of a wholemeal cookie. The flavor is initially caramel-like, yet after about 30 seconds develops a somewhat bitter, lingering aftertaste which leaves the palate unexpectedly refreshed, similar to green tomatoes.
Ground bush tomatoes are referred to as akudjura, the color varying from light, sandy orange-brown to dark brown depending upon the amount of rainfall the plants experienced while the fruits were developing.
Other Common Names:
Bush Tomato, Akudjura, Dessert Raisin, Akatyerre.
Considered an excellent source of Vitamin C.