What Do Aborigines Eat?

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Great question. What do Aborigines eat now? Just the same food as all the other Australians eat.

But the answer would not be the same if the questions were:

  • what did they eat back in time

  • how did they survive in a harsh environment?

Australian Aboriginals learnt to take advantage of everything the environment was offering in terms of food: fruit, plants, animals, insects, fish.

What Do Aborigines Eat - The Animal Food

Aborigines people adapted to their environment. They hunted kangaroos and emus. You can find kangaroo meat in the supermarket these days. It is very nutritious and also very healthy.

And they used native plants to flavour their food.

Such as the highly aromatic Australian native lemon myrtle.

Today you can use the lovely and versatile spice with a lemony bouquet in many recipes for mains and desserts.

Or simply drink it as a tea.

Buy lemon myrtle here, from Amazon.

But other native foods are not quite to today's tastes: wichetty grubs, snakes, moths.

In the past the wichetty grubs formed an important part in the diet of Aboriginal Australians living in the desert. The grubs were cooked on coals or eaten raw.

The grub looks like a white large worm. It is a larvae of a moth. The adult lays eggs near the wichetty bush, which is a type of wattle tree. When they come out of the eggs, the grubs get into the roots of the tree and feed on them.

the wichetty bush is a shelter for the grub

Wichetty bush

There is plenty of food in coastal areas. Seafood and fish formed part of the diet of the groups living there.

But, for those living in remote areas inland, finding food was a hard daily task.

What do Aborigines Eat - The Plant Food

Aboriginal Australians ate roots, seeds and berries, yams, honey. Just food that is easily available in the bush.

Here's one example of seeds that are now used by professional chefs to add innovative flavour to exquisite dishes - the humble wattle seed.

But it is not only for chefs, you can use it too to add a new flavour to your meat dishes or desserts.

Type in wattle seed or other Australian herbs and spices in the Amazon search box on the left.

Aborigines did not raise cattle and did not cultivate the land. But they had a strong knowledge of the environment and how to benefit from it.

They developed the knowledge to survive and passed it down from one generation to the other.

They knew how to find water in the desert. They knew which plants and what parts of them were edible. They knew what was the right time to harvest them and how to prepare them.

Not all plants are good to eat and some of them are toxic. And among those poisonous some can still be eaten if you know when to pick them and how to prepare them, how to keep the good and remove the bad.

Here are some more interesting pages about Indigenous Australians:

A story of survival

Native food

Indigenous medicine

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