Acacia is an important Australian genus especially to the First Peoples. A pioneer plant; it was used to establish Aboriginal cultural & agricultural areas due to its fast growing nature and versatility. It can be used as a windbreak, soil improver [nitrogen fixing legume], firewood, tools, medicinal purposes [contains important alkaloids and Dimethyltryptamine, the pineal gland’s tango partner] and of course is a staple food source.
Some seeds are eaten green while others are roasted, steamed or baked. It’s important to ID correctly. Without ready access to indigenous knowledge, we’re limited by post colonial research. Not all wattle seeds are edible. Some are potentially poisonous. A handy ID kit is here. It’s often easiest to identify when in flower or with seed pods present. When in doubt purchase seeds online or forage with someone experienced for the first time.
Common edible species to look out for include Acacia decurrens [Black Wattle], Acacia floribunda [Gossamer Wattle], Acacia longifolia [Coastal Wattle] pictured above and Acacia fimbriata [Fringe Wattle]. I’m lucky to have a couple of these dotted around my local wildlife corridor and periodically harvest their bounty.
Cooking damper is dead easy. This simple recipe can be baked on a campfire, in a BBQ or your oven at home with a handful of ingredients sourced as fresh as possible. Ideally from your own backyard or close by.
If you're short on thyme, feel free to experiment with what's in your living pantry. Wattle seeds have an earthy chocolatey meets coffee undertone so keep that in mind for palate pairing!
Gather your five ingredients:
- Wattle Seed
- 3C Self-raising Flour
- Milk or Beer [roughly a can]
- Salt to taste
Wattle Seeds come contained in such wonderful pods off the tree. We only use the small black seeds with little cream hats within. A tablespoon or two is enough. Add as much thyme as you like. More is better. Liberally sprinkle with your preferred salt. Mine’s Maldon. YUM!
Mix the sifted dry ingredients together until there’s just a bowl and a beer left. Or your preferred milk. This is mine. Take a moment to enjoy the view and bathe under the sunlight.
Make a well. Pour in liquid slowly and stir with a metal knife. Don’t overmix or overwater. You may need to drink leftovers. The chef’s boon. This is where beer is much more enjoyable, especially on a hot day. Each to their own of course. Who doesn’t love a milk moustache?
Once mixed into a happy lump with minimum bits left on the bowl plop onto a generously floured board to lightly knead.
Place into a well dusted camp oven or tray. Recycle board flour and pour into the baking vessel. Zero waste! Bake in a slow BBQ, oven or fire for 30-40 minutes.
In retrospect it's a good idea to check as you go. I did not whilst multi-tasking and ended up with a very crunchy bottom from sitting the camp oven too close to the flames. I cooked on a fire BBQ so it's a little tricky to regulate.
Drink with remaining beer or open a cold one. Load up with butter and try not to break teeth on the very overdone base. Doh…Still delicious though! Book dentist appointment shortly after.