Monday, 25 February 2008

More about the Kangaroo Apple

Kerrie left a comment on my last blog, asking whether the Kangaroo Apples are edible, so I thought I'd answer here rather than there.

Kangaroo Apple is in the the Solanaceae family and other members of the family are vegetables (peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, capsicums), and potent extract producers such as tobacco and deadly night shade, as well as some Aussie bush tucker plants (desert tomato, desert raisin and kangaroo apple).

Apparently the aborigines around here treated the fruits of the kangaroo apple with respect, eating them only when they were very ripe. I've read that they can be a substitute for tomatoes in relish or chutney, and dried like dried tomatoes, used on pizza, but I'm a bit wary. As soon as I saw the word 'nightshade' in the same sentence as Kangaroo Apple I decided to leave it (eating the fruit) to the experts. It's a pity really, because they look quite tempting. Read more about it here -
and here -


Anonymous said...

l have eaten them but only when they are totally red,,lt is true that they can be used in place of tomatoes in a relish,,as l have done this...Bush tucker is underestimated and we really should understand,,what on our doorstep..

Grey said...

I ate one an hour ago and not feeling dead yet :-) Look, like you guys I was wary because of what I'd read. But I grew one to use as a rootstock for eggplant. I noticed some fruits were looking bad so I wondered if it was being used by fruit fly, (or whether it was down to irregular watering). Snapping one open I found no worms but noticed it looked very appealing, even though this was one of the 'bad' looking ones. I bent my nose to it and it smelt 'fruity'.
I selected a good looking ripe fruit, (mine ripen to orange). Verdict, amazingly good. I mean this wasn't a grape, yet it was a whole lot better raw than the related eggplant.

It's fairly unique but I can understand 'tomato substitute'. I can taste sweet, lightly citrus or passionfruit notes. They say it contains a poison when unripe, but then what fruit doesn't? Plenty of bellyaches from kids eating unripe fruit. They say that aborigines take the skin off as it causes mouth blisters. Well not yet it hasn't but I did only eat one.

My next trick to harvest a bowl full and I intend to pummel them through a sieve which will seperate out the skins and seeds. Then I'll turn the flesh into rissoles similar to those I make from eggplant.

I really think it's scandalous that we haven't exploited this native food resource. If there are toxins present they can be minimised by selective breeding, same as we've done for every other vegatable.

Rosemary Horton said...

thank goodness some people can accept what native people have discovered and exploited. I have grown kangaroo apples for many years but only for a quick growing block out for unwanted views etc. they are very easily managed pruned or pulled out when too big. and i hoped that their tempting fruit will keep birds etc away from my other favorite vine and tree fruits rosemary horton, 80 years old and living organically productive in lilydale victoria. but no i dont have them where my chooks can eat them as i am wary of all the adverse comments.