Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Kurrajong woes and amaranth harvesting

After nearly all my kurrajong seedlings being eaten off below soil level during or just after germination in both the beds I planted them in I decided to save the last dozen that have escaped the cutworm or whatever insect that did it. I cut the tops off some soft drink cans and cut them in half with scissors.

Then I pushed them into the ground around the little plants. I hope this does the job but I will replant another couple of rows in spring as it is getting a bit late now.
 I am not sure if I have mentioned them on this blog before. Kurrajongs are a native Australian tree which produce a crunchy, edible tuberous root when very young and can be grown like carrots.

Older trees produce seeds that are very nutritious after cooking. The trees are grown here as street trees so it is easy to go and get some seeds - as long as the council haven't had the lower branches trimmed so high that I can't reach them, lol.

Here is a picture of kurrajong seeds. They are covered by a papery husk and tiny, sharp hairs that get stuck in the skin. After preparation to remove the cover and hairs you can roast them or fry them in a frypan and they taste like a cross between roasted peanuts and popcorn. DELICIOUS.

Here is a picture of another native plant called Muntries (Kunzea pomifera) that produces tasty, apple-flavoured berries in summer. I only have a few young plants growing at the moment but I collected a lot of seeds last summer so I will grow a heap more to sell at the market.

These plants only grow naturally in a small part of Australia - around here and on the way to Adelaide, but they are so good to eat that I am amazed that no-one grows them commercially. It is said that they make good jam (what doesn't, lol) and they are nice dried as well.

In other news today, I have harvested half of my amaranth seed heads and will do the others in a few days. There is a large bucket full of seeds and waste to be cleaned on the back veranda. I love amaranth at a vegetable and that is saying something as I am not really fond of greens. Harvesting the seeds is not very hard but cleaning them of all the chaff is a lot harder. I'm glad I will have plenty of seeds for next spring as I can see amaranth being a great seller at the markets and in the veggie boxes.

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