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Native Australian nuts and seeds have been used by Australian Aborigines as a food for thousands of years. While many of the nuts used by them did not taste very well or were even poisonous, they were nonetheless an important source of nutrients for Aboriginal people. Some of them had a good taste and were also nutritious. Those are still used today in modern bushfood. Aborigines ate some nuts raw, others had to be prepared, sometimes for days, to be made edible. The best-known Australian nut and one of the few bushfoods exported from Australia, is the macadamia. Even though Hawaii is the largest producer nowadays, it is native to Queensland. Another common nut used today is the bunya nut.

Coconuts and candle nuts are not actually native to Australia but have been introduced early and are both quite common along the coasts of Australia.

Aboriginal people used the edible seeds of about 75 species of acacias and grasses. They were mostly ground into a paste with water and formed to seed cakes or breads, called damper, that were baked in the fire. Only few of those seeds are still part of modern bush cuisine. Wattleseeds are the most commonly used seeds today. They taste of chocolate and coffee and are often used to flavour drinks, cakes and cookies.


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Toxic nuts used by Aboriginal people

Some nuts used by Aborigines are not used in modern cuisine because of their taste or toxicity. Because food was often scarce in the outback poisonous nuts were a valuable source of nutrients to many Aboriginal tribes. The Moreton bay chestnut and cycad nuts are just two examples. To make them edible they had to undergo long and work-intensive treatments that included roasting them in the fire and leaching the toxicity out in water.


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