Getting Snapped Up By Bush Tomatoes.

Bush Tomatoes growing on Kokatha Land

As Autumn rain sweeps across the plains of central Australia, a plethora of wild plants break out of the soil for the first time in months. Patiently waiting as seeds or tubers, they take full advantage of the sudden moisture and bloom a dazzling array of colours against the sunburnt orange backdrop. Amongst this flourishing of life is an inconspicuous yet crucial vine; the Bush Tomato.

Bush Tomatoes hail from a diverse family of over 100 species. Known as Merne akatyerre in the Arrente language, their drought-resistant tubers can lie dormant beneath the soil for months or even years, triggered into life by the passing of rain or the scorching heat of a bushfire. Once their fuse is lit, a hasty two-month growth period follows, during which the plants flower, produce fruit, then wither and return to the soil awaiting their next genesis.

This sudden abundance of life may seem like a golden ticket, but to the uninformed it can be a poison chalice. Only six species of Bush Tomato are known to be edible, and with so many similarities between species it can take years of training from local communities to be able to identify and safely gather this vibrant fruit.

So in this case, we’d recommend leaving harvesting to the experts. We’ve worked with Something Wild for years now, sourcing Bush Tomatoes and other native ingredients in a sustainable manner that directly benefits First Nations Communities. Alternatively, First Nations culinary companies such as Mabu Mabu make a variety of Bush Tomato condiments, so you can enjoy the unique flavour with none of the risk.

Speaking of low-risk winter warmers, we recommend kick-starting your weekend with the Bush Tomato Snapper. Crisp Alpine Gin is the perfect partner to the bright yet savoury Bush Tomato, the soft pepper notes adding a sparkle to your Saturday morning brunch.

Bush Tomato Snapper

60ml Alpine

120ml Tomato Juice

15ml Lemon Juice

6 dashes Worcestershire sauce

6 dashes Mabu Mabu Green Tomato Hot Sauce

Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake over ice. Strain into a highball with ice and garnish with a celery stalk.