Latin Name: Solanum centrale

Other Names: bush tomato, bush raisin, yakajirri

Uses: seasoning

What is akudjura?

Akudjura is the dried and ground fruit of the bush tomato, a plant in the nightshade family (Solanaceae). It’s closely related to tomatoes and potatoes, with which it shares a genus. The Indigenous people of Australia have been using the little berry for millennia, but recently the ingredient has caught the attention of the rest of the world thanks to the growing bush foods industry.

Why is akudjura healthy?

Akudjura has been used medicinally to promote good digestion and improve circulation for centuries. It is high in vitamins C and E, and minerals such as folate, zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. The fruit is also an important source of selenium, an antioxidant essential for metabolic function.

Itis high in vitamins C, E, and folate and minerals such as zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. The fruit is also an important source of selenium, a powerful antioxidant essential for metabolic function.

What does akudjura taste like?

Akudjura has a flavor that’s been described as caramelly, raisin-y and carob-like, turning to a slightly sour taste somewhat like sun-dried tomatoes. It can also take on a toasty cereal flavor and leave a spicy aftertaste.

How do I use akudjura?

Akudjura is traditionally used in seasoning blends for meats, but it’s also suitable for chutneys, salad dressings, and sauces. It can be added to bread dough to add its distinct flavor. You don’t need to use very much of the spice, or the flavor can overpower other foods.

What does akudjura pair well with?

In bread and pasta dishes, akudjura is paired with rosemary, thyme, garlic, and olives for lovely flavors. For a spice rub, try combining it with coriander seed, black and white peppercorns, mustard seed, and lemon zest. It’s also interesting when used as a sweet spice for baked fruit desserts, especially apple or pear pies or crisps.

Where does akudjura grow?

Bush tomato is native to the deserts of the Central and Western Australian outback, where it has been grown and collected for thousands of years by the original people of the land. It especially thrives after a wildfire. Most of the crop is still harvested in the wild by Indigenous women, though research into Indigenous commercial production is currently underway.

How do I buy akudjura?

It is not easy to source akudjura, as it’s a fairly obscure ingredient not widely available outside its native range. If you buy the whole dried fruit, it should resemble a raisin, and if you purchase the powdered version, it will be slightly sticky like sumac. It should be stored in an airtight container away from heat and light.

Fun akudjura fact:

Bush tomatoes are intertwined in the mythology of Indigenous Australians (particularly the Warlpiri tribes and Anmatyerr people of Central Australia), who see the fruit as part of their creation story called Jukurrpa or The Dreaming. The fruit still features in the works of contemporary native artists of Australia today.