Learn about Australian Native Food Harvest with Julie Weatherhead »

Great meals made from Australian native ingredients

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River Mint Lemon Myrtle Goats Cheese Frittatas, Australian Native Food Harvest

River Mint Lemon Myrtle Goats Cheese Frittatas, Australian Native Food Harvest

<i>Australian Native Food Harvest</i> by Julie Weatherwood
Little Finger Lime Lemon Myrtle Cheesecake, Australian Native Food Harvest
<i>Australian Native Food Harvest</i> Author Julie Weatherwood
Orange and anise myrtle salad recipe


As chefs around the world are discovering, Australian native foods have amazing flavours and can generally be grown in our very own backyards  – so why aren’t they being used more in the home garden and kitchen? Perhaps it’s just that many don’t know how.

With restaurants increasingly seeking to source native ingredients, farmers’ markets are now providing the goods but there are still many people who admire the unusual botanical offerings at the same time having no idea whatsoever of their cultivation nor their culinary potential. After all, many of us were taught at school that the only Australian domesticated crop was the macadamia – how times have changed!

Julie Weatherhead, a native food plant specialist, ecologist and educator has written Australian Native Food Harvest: a guide for the passionate cook and gardener. Julie and her husband, Anthony Hooper, have developed Peppermint Ridge Farm over three decades, studying and working with native plants and through this book they hope to motivate more of us to try the plants that actually thrive in this country.

The book includes:

  • A list of the top 20 Australian native foods for the garden and table, each with planting notes, propagation, harvesting, culinary and health benefits. These have full colour photographs and are written in an easy to read and succinct format.
  • How to design and grow a native garden with planting maps.
  • How to cook with native foods with a range of recipes from starters, roast chicken, pizzas, desserts, butters, preserves and more.
  • An interesting section on agriculture in Aboriginal Australia and how some native foods were first recognised overseas.

Delving further into the book, there are everyday recipes that combine native ingredients with compatible partner ingredients. Examples include; adding lemon myrtle to hummus; warrigal greens in pesto and the trio of anise myrtle, strawberry gum spice and mountain pepper infused oil to a beef tajine.

The verdict:

If you’re interested in seeking new and exciting flavour combinations and keen to try growing your own native plants, then this book is a  must-read for you.

The two copies of Australian Native Food Harvest offered in a recent VisitVineyards promotion managed to find homes with just such people and these are their verdicts on the book:

Mrs Taylor said: It is so interesting and the information is invaluable. I’ll be ordering from the online shop so will be truly set now! 

I live in a cool climate region so I’m going to try and grow some of the plants to increase the birdlife and habitat in my home garden. I’m so excited with the added advantage of reaping the benefits in cooking.

I’d love to visit Peppermint Ridge Farm and have now realised it is possible to visit from where I live. So, I’ve joined the mailing list and I am really ready to fire now!

Mrs Ward said: I'm very interested experimenting with different food and also am keen to expand the native part of our garden, so this book is pretty much perfect for me.

In the introduction Julie speaks of incorporating native food species into windbreaks, which really piqued my interest as I'm in the early stages of planning some rather large windbreaks on our farm. I'm now planning to add some of the plants mentioned in the book into my design.

I found the information on each plant is really well presented and provides a good level of information - not too much that you end up skim reading it, but enough to make you want to grow it!

I haven't made any of the recipes yet as I only have a couple of the native ingredients, but they all are seem very simple and easy to follow, which is perfect when experimenting with new ingredients.

Overall I think it's a brilliant book and one that I will come back to often when reviving or expanding parts of my garden.

And if you get lost in the bush, your new found botanical knowledge might just stave off starvation!


Australian Native Food Harvest: A Guide for the Passionate Cook and Gardener by Julie Weatherhead is published by Peppermint Ridge Farm (Vic; Sep 2016; pb; 192pp) and available for A$34.95 direct from peppermintridgefarm.com.au and from selected bookshops

Australian Native Food Harvests also won the 2017 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Food Heritage in Australia and was a finalist in the international awards.

See links below for recipes and further information on Peppermint Ridge Farm

Read the press release for Australian Native Food Harvest here »


  • Gippsland (VIC)

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July 21st, 2017
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