Going Native

bush spices

We’re so often fawning over the exotic herbs and spices from over the pond in our cooking these days that we can forget the amazing array of herbs and spices we have here on our very own soil. Native Australian herbs and spices have been used by our Indigenous people for centuries for anything from cooking, to cleaning, to medicinal uses. With a fascination in these multipurpose, wondrous gems, I began some hands-on research and discovered just how amazing and versatile these native herbs really are. To showcase them, I have devised a few uses and recipes that I’d love to share with you so you too can experience and appreciate these home-grown treasures.

*These native herbs and spices pack a more potent punch than regular herb and spice varieties so need to be used sparingly in recipes – use ½ to 1/3 of their regular counterparts.

Australian Native Mint

Also known as ‘wild mint’ is a smaller, more delicate version of the more well-known garden-variety mint. Indigenous Australians used this wonderful herb for centuries as not only a flavoursome bush-food seasoning, but a natural insect repellent and a medicinal herb to help with a variety of ailments. Native Mint can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes to add a fresh minty aroma. Try mixing with a little lemon juice and local bush honey before drizzling over freshly grilled haloumi for a fusion starter or steep in 80-degree water to make a warming herbal brew to help with digestion.

Australian Native Saltbush

One of Australia’s best and most versatile herbs, Saltbush leaves can be used to impart a salty, savoury flavour as a healthier alternative to regular salt. Like many of our Native herbs, Saltbush was used centuries ago by Indigenous Australians originally for medicinal purposes to aid in the healing of burns and wounds. Today, you can find it on many innovative restaurant menus and lucky for you with our new natives’ range, in your own pantry! Use to add a salty savouriness to meats, soups, stews or salad dressings.

Australian Native Thyme

With hints of mint, pepper and earthy, herbal notes, Native Thyme is one of the most versatile of our Native Herbs and a personal favourite of mine. Use this highly aromatic herb on roasted and grilled meats or brew in 80-degree water to make a wonderful warming herbal tea. One of my favourite ways to use it is whipped into softened butter and pushed under the skin of a whole chicken before roasting in the oven – the butter will keep the meat of chicken super moist and the skin crispy, whilst the Native Thyme permeates the meat with a wonderful herby aroma and flavour.

Australian Native Pepper Berry Leaf

Also known as ‘Mountain Pepper’ or ‘Tasmanian Native Pepper’, this aromatic herb is one of Australia’s top native superfoods said to have four-times the antioxidants of blueberries. This mighty herb is also as delicious as it is healthy; it’s fruity, peppery flavour has a much more herbal undertone to it than your everyday black pepper and it packs a spicier, hotter punch. Use in cooking or to season dishes after as you would regular pepper.

For a recipe using these four amazing herbs, Click Here to check out my Native Herb-Crusted BBQ Lamb recipe. This recipe takes a bunch of Aussie heroes and throws them together in one tender, juicy, succulent dish that is a must-try this summer!

Pepper Berries Whole

Much like its leafy counterpart, Australian Pepper Berries have a complex, fruity flavour and aroma with an intense spicy heat. Due to their intense flavour, only a very small amount is needed to impart a big flavour. These dark purple/blue berries can be rehydrated in some boiling water for a deeper flavour and colour or used dry in whole peppercorns or ground in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Use on chicken, fish, meat or to add seasoning to soups and stews just as you would regular black pepper.

Lemon Myrtle

Native to the wetter, coastal areas of northern New South Wales and southern Queensland, Lemon Myrtle is known for its distinct fresh fragrance of creamy lemon and lime and tangy citrus flavour. This highly aromatic herb is an excellent substitute for lemon grass and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes – I simply sprinkle over some fish before grilling or hand-cut chips before roasting.

A favourite way of using this wonderful herb however, is my Lemon Myrtle Delicious Pudding. This native twist on an old classic fave is zingy and oozy and just perfect served warm on a cold night. I like to add a little cream or vanilla ice cream to mine to offset the tangy lemony taste of the pud. Click Here to check out the recipe.

Seaweed Salt

This delicate blend of salt, seaweed and native Australian herbs is a wonderfully savoury, healthier alternative to regular salt. The wakame seaweed used in this blend is harvested from the Tasmanian coastline and air-dried to retain its full, naturally salty flavour. Our Australian sea salt is then harvested from our Eastern coastline and is kept in its natural state – unrefined and unbleached – so it retains all its essential nutrients. These two home-grown ingredients are then blended together along with Australian Native Saltbush, Native Thyme, Oregano, Black Pepper, Onion and Garlic to make a super delicious all-purpose seasoning that imparts a wonderful savoury, salty flavour in just about anything you sprinkle it on.

Wattle Seed Ground

Dark roasted and finely ground, our Wattle Seed is a rare native spice that’s unique to our homeland and imparts the most wonderful nutty, woody flavour with a strong coffee, chocolate and hazelnut-like aroma. Use to flavour sweets like biscuits, muffins and pancakes as well as savouries like meats, seafood and roasted veggies. Use as a coffee and hazelnut substitute in recipes for a great source of fibre and protein – the uses of this amazing versatile spice really are endless! One super simple way I love to use it is in our Wattle Seed-Spiced Egg Flip smoothie – this wholesome native-inspired smoothie makes the perfect mid-morning snack or afternoon pick-me-up and gives you the rich flavour of roasted coffee beans without the caffeine; Click Here to check it out!

I hope you’ve loved going native and celebrating our own home-grown delicious herby produce as much as I have. Our pocket of the world is full of so many amazing ingredients that should be explored and utilised and I’ve been happy to make it my mission to bring them to you in an easy and affordable way.

As always, if you make anything from our site be sure to upload it onto social media and tag us. We love seeing what you create!

Ciao,

Liz

F | @thespicepeople I | @thespicepeopleaus

  • Lemon Myrtle

    Product description

    Lemon Myrtle is a very popular citrus-fragranced spice that is native to the wetter coastal areas in the northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. It is distinguished by its fresh fragrance of creamy lemon and lime and has a very versatile lemony and tangy flavour. It complements many dishes like fish, chips, chicken, roast vegetables and ice cream or sorbet.

    SKU: B00591
    $3.45
  • Wattle Seed Ground

    Product description

    Wattleseed is an Australian native spice. It has a nutty and woody flavour and coffee-like aroma. This versatile spice can be used to flavour desserts and meats maximizing the flavour in your cooking. Use in any dish where you want a hazelnut or coffee taste.

    SKU: B0109
    $4.99
  • Australian Native Saltbush

    Product description

    Australian Native Saltbush is one of Australia’s best and most versatile native herbs. Like many of our native herbs, Saltbush was originally used medicinally by Indigenous Australians to aid in the healing of wounds or burns. Today, Saltbush leaves are widely utilised in cooking to add a delicious savoury, salty flavour as a healthier alternative to regular salt. An authentic taste of the Australian bush and one of our most versatile and most-used in our Natives range.

    SKU: B0099
    $4.99
  • Pepper Berries Whole

    Product description

    Pepper Berries come from a shrub that grows in the alpine regions of Tasmania and south-east mainland of Australia. The berries have a bright purple or dark blue colour with intense heat, complex fruity flavour and sweet aroma. They are characterised by their versatility and are hotter than conventional peppercorns. Use it in any dish to spice it up with a peppery zing.

    SKU: B00821
    $3.45
  • Seaweed Salt Seasoning with Australian Native Herbs

    Product description

    We have revamped our seaweed salt and infused it with some fantastic Australian native herbs to give you the ultimate Australian culinary experience. Our wakame seaweed is wild craft harvested on the Tasmanian coastline and air dried to retain its full flavour.  Our Australian sea salt is harvested from the Australian coastline and is unrefined and unbleached so it retains all the essential nutrients. The native thyme and salt bush are hand harvested in central Australia. Our super native Australian Seaweed salt blend is the perfect seasoning for any dish to reduce actual salt consumed but to add a concentrated “salty umami” flavour.

    SKU: B009831
    $3.45
  • Australian Native – Wild Thyme

    Product description

    Australian Native Thyme is a national herb that’s origins date back centuries. It was previously used medicinally by Indigenous Australian’s however is now more-commonly used in cooking and the making of herbal teas. It’s a highly aromatic herb that’s rich in essential oils that give off a minty aroma when released. Our leaves have been freshly harvested then dried immediately to lock in their vibrant flavour and aroma. This is a true taste of the Australian bush and an excellent edition to our Natives collection.

    SKU: B01065
    $4.99
  • Australian Native Pepper Berry Leaf

    Product description

    Australian Native Pepper Berry Leaf, also known as ‘Mountain Pepper’ or ‘Tasmanian Native Pepper’, is one of Australia’s top native superfoods said to have four times the antioxidants of blueberries. This pepper is as delicious as it is healthy with a fruity peppery flavour that can be used in cooking or to season food when serving. Compared to our everyday pepper, Australian Native Pepper Berry Leaf has more of a herbal flavour and packs a spicer, sharper and hotter punch. After harvesting the leaves, we have dried them to lock in the flavour and aroma; the snap-lock seal on our barrier-proof packets also ensures it retains its flavour for many uses to come. An authentic taste of Australia.

    SKU: b00822
    $4.99
  • Australian Native Rivermint

    Product description

    Australian Native Mint, also known as ‘Wild Mint’, is a smaller, more delicate version of the more well-known garden-variety mint. This native herb is as versatile as it is aromatic; Indigenous Australians have used this marvellous herb for centuries as flavoursome bush food, natural insect repellant and medicinal herb. After harvesting the leaves, we have dried them to lock in the flavour and aroma; the snap-lock seal on our barrier-proof packets also ensures it retains its flavour for many uses to come. A true taste of the Australian bush!

    SKU: B0063
    $4.99