The yummiest of the Australian native foods is the Quandong, or Wild Peach, fruit of Santalum acuminatum. These make great pies, served with cream, icecream or custard. As the fruit is quite tart, extra sugar is required but they are certainly a treat.
Years ago we had a tree when we were living in the north of South Australia. Being parasitic we were sure that its roots were attached to a very old grape vine which grew nearby. I remember many feasts when we could beat the birds to the fruit.
Friends in the mallee often had enough fruit from their tree to freeze it. Before Quandong Pie made its appearance in restaurants, Bev was supplying frozen fruit to a private concern in Adelaide. How they heard about the supply, I don’t know.
I was given a Sunshine Milk tin of dried fruit which had come from the upper north of the state. I thought that all my Christmases had come at once!
This a widespread large shrub or tree. It has small insignificant greenish flowers followed by large shiny red fruits. It grows widely in drier areas of the country. A host plant is needed when the plants are about twelve months old. Perennial grasses are often used.
It is not easy to propagate. Some say put the seed in a hessian bag with some peat and throw it behind the back shed and check it a few months later! Various methods are used. One that is supposed to work is to soak the kernal which has been removed from the hard shell, in a solution of household bleach for half an hour. Place the kernels in a plastic bag with moist wood shavings and keep cool and dark until germination takes place. Remove the sprouted kernels as soon as possible to individual pots.