Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday 11 November 2013

Quandongs - delicious Australian bush food

Have you ever tasted Quandongs - or Quandong jam? Do you know what Quandongs are? Have you ever seen them in the bush?

Today I have taken a little side step from my blogging about our recent trip through South Australia - but really this post is a little more detail about a bush food you can see and taste in South Australia - the Quandong 

My curiosity with the Quandong started many years ago..... but even before this newspaper article in the West Australian newspaper in 1995 I knew about Quandongs. My mother said when she was a child they used to use quandong nuts on their Chinese Checkers game. 

 I wrote this creative piece for my writing group exercise -

The shiny red baubles hang in clusters glistening in the shafts of early morning light. It is a surprise to see them amongst the dull grey green. Their beauty entices me to crouch underneath their bright canopy. I reach up and gently tug at the nearest bauble. It resists and then yields. The ball is round and hard. I can see where it has been marked by creatures unseen. 
I squat on the carpet of green, red, yellow and brown balls that have fallen from the tree. Some are split and broken revealing a glimpse of the treasure within. I pick up one and pull aside the thin shell to reveal a perfectly round hard ball patterned with wavy lines. 
Curious I bite into the red ball that I have plucked from above. The tart bitter sweetness is a shock, but is irresistible. I nibble away the thin red and yellow layer and then secret the round knobbly nut in my pocket.  
As I reach up to pluck another bauble I sense someone is watching me. Looking across the clearing I see the soft brown eyes of a kangaroo gazing at me. In its hands is a bright red shiny bauble. 
- Jill Harrison, May 2013- 

I had seen plants during our travels through the Western Australia wheatbelt - but it was only a couple of years ago that I saw them fruiting and had the opportunity to taste them. They have a sharp bitter taste when eaten raw. 

Santalum Acuminatum or the Quandong 
CommonName: Quandong; Sweet Quandong, Wild Peach, Desert Peach, Native Peach, Guwandhuna, Gutchu, Wanjanu, Mangata, Goorti, Wadjal (Aboriginal names)
BotanicalName: Santalum acuminatum

distribution map The Quandong is a truly unique native Australian fruit. Traditionally the Quandong was an important food and medicinal source for Australian Aborigines and was also used by early pioneers and settlers as a fruit, or in jams and chutneys. Found in the arid and semi-arid regions of all Australian mainland states, Quandong trees are ideally adapted to arid environments. The Santalum Acuminatum species is known to be a semi-parasitic plant. Quandong trees can tolerate high soil salinity levels and often rely for their complete water requirements from the root systems of host plants. Across their native distribution range, Quandong trees typically grow 2 to 3 metres in height, with a dense leathery crown of leaves perhaps 2 metres wide. 

 You can read more about Quandongs at "Nullarbor Net" by clicking here - Quandongs - Nullarbornet

We have seen Quandong trees many times during our travels through the West Australian wheatbelt and along the Hyden to Norseman Road in Western Australia. More recently we saw them during our travels through South Australia.  They have a dull green dry looking leaf, but in season the bright red fruits attract your attention.
We saw this beautiful specimen you see here in the Coffin Bay area of the Eyre Peninsular in South Australia.

Quandongs are very similar to - Australian Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) - and in fact belong to the same family.  Below you can see the Sandalwood on the left and the Quandong on the right.  The nut of the Sandalwood is smooth (sorry you can't see it in this picture) whilst the nut of the Quandong is nobbly. 

Harvesting wild Quandong fruit is prohibited, but when we visited the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden  in Port Augusta in South Australia in October, I purchased some Quandong fruit leather, preserves and dried Quandong, from plantation grown fruit by Bush Food Australia - click here - Bush Food Australia . We also tried the Quandong icecream and the Quandong cake in the Arid Lands cafe. The fruit has a tart-bitter sweet taste - delicious!

After our return home I made some Quandong jam - seen here below served with wattleseed pancakes and cream with wattleseed sprinkled over (watteseed is another bush food I bought from the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden)
Oh my goodness I am in raptures over quandong jam! 
I cooked down the fruit with a couple of green apples and the juice of 2 lemons. 

 You can buy dried Quandong from "Native Tastes of Australia" - click here to see more - Native Tastes of Australia
 On their site you will see some Quandong recipes including jam.  

 Here is an interesting post about edible native foods - click here - why-havent-we-embraced-indigenous-foods

 Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed learning something about the Quandong. Next week we will return to our South Australian travels.
If you missed any of my previous posts about our South Australia trip you can catch up by clicking on the links below -

 I am linking up to linkup sharing blogs below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!  Have a wonderful week.

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Tuesday Around the World  
Foodie Tuesday
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been


  1. Excellent shots! I never saw the Quandong tree, but enjoyed the jam when I lived in Australia. And I look so forward to my Christmas parcel from friends in Oz that always have a couple of jars included!

  2. Amazing how anything survives in the salt pan!
    Obviously it is a source of nourishment for kangaroos and humans.
    Lovely photos Jill!
    I've always wanted to do a trip into the Aussie outback - I'm leaving it a bit late!!!

  3. Jill, your jam looks delicious. The tree looks pretty with the red fruits hanging like apples. Thanks for sharing! Have a happy week!

  4. Always enjoy being introduced to something new!

  5. Look so yummy!
    Monday greetings, RW & SK

  6. Hi Jill,

    Wow! Had never heard of quandongs before in my life! They are very pretty berries, that for sure! Very exotic! Great pics! Thanks so much for sharing!


  7. A fruit I've never heard of. I learned something new!

  8. This sounds interesting. I have not heard of quandongs up to now. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Interesting post! Jam looks delicious.

  10. Wasn't the bush food I was expecting but it's interesting how you've found so many different ways to use it.
    Thanks for the intro to quandong and thanks for linking up.
    Enjoy the rest of your week!

  11. Looks delicious, Jill. Thanks for sharing about this. My mom visited a friend in Australia a couple of years ago, I'll have to ask her if she tried this.

    1. Quandong products are not very common - you would have to know to look or ask for them when you are in Australia.

  12. This is so interesting Jill, and your food photography keeps getting better and better. I would love some tips! I can't wait for the day when you put all these type of posts into a book - you've really 'got' it, you know, and I love the way you weave story, facts, history and great photography.

    1. thank you for the vote of confidence Jo - I really appreciate it.

    2. ps - I need to learn "e-books" from you!

  13. I have never heard of Quandong before but your jam looks delicious. I love all those unique ice cream flavors and all of them I've never heard or tried before. It certainly has piqued my interest. Your food photography shots are just beautiful.

  14. Mmm... they look delicious!

  15. Isn't it amazing how every part of the world has different plants and vegetation. I would love to try your quandong jam. I enjoyed your creative writing piece :)

  16. Hi Jill,
    Yes, I did enjoy learning about quandong. I'd love to try the jam. I'm always fascinated with the unique vegetations that grow in different part of the world. I love the creative piece you wrote about quandong.

  17. Hello there, that's so interesting. I've been in and out of Sydney for more than 25 years and hadn't heard of this native fruit. Lovely to read all this and I look forward to trying them one day.

  18. The jam looks delicious and the fruits are really lovely... I would try this in a heartbeat!

  19. Those trees are so colorful. I would be sorely tempted to pick some quandong myself, so I am glad you warned me. I was not expecting such a large seed inside that fruit. Is it a pain to get the pits out? That ice cream looks delicious, although I would have no idea what the flavors taste like other than the lime.


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