Desert’s Bush Tomatoes

Bush tomatoes are small plants found in deserts which are 30cm in height. These are also known as Kutjera, Kampurarpa, Akatjurra. It has grey and bronze leaves with beautiful mauve or blue flowers. It’s commonly found in Northern territory and South Australia. There are over 100 species of solanums (wild tomatoes) in Australia. Though, only Desert Raisins are the most commonly consumed species of the bush tomatoes.

These plants are mainly grown after summer rains and can last for years with favourable seasons. Bush Tomatoes have been a standard food of the desert dwellers of central Australia for thousands of years. These are the good sources of minerals, potassium and vitamin C. Bush tomatoes are stored as dried vegetables (dried in sun and are of the size of a raisin) for several years.  The dried fruits are collected in late autumn and early winter. They are grown in the deserts of Central Australia and using irrigation they have extended the fruiting season to eight months. Bush tomatoes have caramel and tamarillo flavour and aroma which give an extra ordinary taste in the dish. It goes well with cheese, eggs, and meats.

The roots are equally useful as they are used in toothache and they can also be cooked. But there are some harmful substance in it- green fruit has toxin solanine. Otherwise, fully ripened fruit can be eaten.

By: Srishti Sharma



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