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Burdekin Plums

The Burdekin plum gives me similar warm soul feelings as when I see Saltbush.

Saltbush was the first 'Bush food' I used at home in cooking. When I was working at Tully State High School, QLD, this little plum was a hard nut to crack, as in, to work with and to create something that complements its own identity. And it took time and patience. My friend, Jirrbal traditional owner, Tonya Grant, took me to Cardwell and we harvested two trees in the main street in preparation for our first Deadly Bush Foods Dinner. The first one she shared with me was a white Burdekin, it definitely had its taste and textures with a beautiful seed.

My Hospitality students and I at Tully State High School, worked endlessly to create a relish that would be showcased on the first DBF dinner menu. After 4 different attempts, we worked it out. On the first menu, it went with the pork, and with menus that followed the Burdekin relish was showcased on Saltbush Arancini, Pulled lamb sliders, cheese platers. And for me at home, it replaced any type of relish in my fridge. Over the years working at Tully SHS, I would spend days with Uncle Daniel Beeron, Aunty Jean Thaiday, and Sandra Leo from the Girringun Nursery, out on country harvesting these delights and learning. I miss working with my friends and I am forever thankful for the knowledge that was shared with the friendships that have been made.

The Burdekin plums are in season any time between April and October, the fruit can be reddish, purple, or black. The tree can grow up to 20 meters and can be found from south QLD to the Cape. (information sourced from the Wabu Jananyu book, Girringun Aboriginal Corporation)


When I moved back down to Victoria in December, I had to bring a Burdekin plant from the Girringun Nursery back with me. The climates are so different, and I want to see if the tree can find its rhythm here. It was thriving through Summer but with winter, the tree lost its leaves. Over the last month, it has now started producing new leaves. Crossing my fingers it will be okay. We will have to wait and see.

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