Makrut Lime, Kaffir Lime Citrus hystrix
             

Paul Plant

   
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Widely known throughout Asia as Makrut Lime, it is also known locally as Kaffir Lime, which unfortunately has an undesirable racial connotation. Makrut Lime is a small thorny tree 2 to 3m tall by 2 to 3m wide. It has distinctive two part segmented leaves. The petiole stalk is broad just like the lamina.

Green fruit are small in size, very bumpy and roughly textured. The pith is wide with the juicy pulp within.

Records show it is native to China, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Guinea and Philippines. It is however widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates around the world.

In small gardens, this citrus can be grown in a large pot to keep its dimensions in check. This also provides the convenience of harvesting the leaves when the container is close to the kitchen.

 
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Seven
 
 
Makrut Lime, Kaffir Lime Citrus hystrix
 
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Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)
             
Arno King
   
 

 

   

Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica syn. Hydrocotle asiatica), also known as Arthritis Herb, Asiatic Pennywort, Indian Pennywort and Indian Ginseng is a herb with a very wide distribution from Africa, throughout temperate to tropical Asia, the Pacific Islands and much of South America. It is also native to Australia, being found in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. It is increasingly grown for its medicinal qualities, in particular to ease the symptoms of arthritis or to improve brain function. However in many parts of the world it is also grown as a vegetable.

Gotu Kola is a Sinhalese name and the plant is revered in Sri Lanka, where it is widely eaten as a salad vegetable or as a kind of morning porridge. The plant is also eaten as a vegetable in most countries where it grows naturally. The young leaves and petioles are eaten raw in salads; are steamed and served with rice, or are cooked briefly in soups, stir fries, stews or curries.

Topics explored briefly are:

  • Cultivation
  • Medicinal Uses
  • Variability

 

Gotu Kola Sambola (Salad)
This delicious salad is very popular around the world. It is best made with fresh coconut, however moistened shredded desiccated coconut can also be used.

3 cups of Gotu Kola leaves
3 Tbs fresh grated coconut
1 green chilli – deseeded and stem removed
1 French shallots or quarter of a red onion
Juice of ½ a lime
Salt to taste

Wash and finely shred the Gotu Kola leaves, and finely dice the green chilli and onions. Mix these ingredients with coconut, lime juice and salt.

 

Kola Kanda (Gotu Kola Porridge)
Kola Kanda is a dish, usually eaten before breakfast.

Loosely packed 500ml container of Gota Kola leaves
1 ½ cups cooked red or white rice
Approx 1 Litre of water
8 Tbs of coconut milk powder
3 pieces of jaggery (cane sugar)
salt to taste

Blend the cooked rice with 1 cup of water for 10 second using an electric blender. Dissolve the coconut milk powder in ½ a cup of water and strain. Add rice mixture and coconut milk and salt to taste. Place pot on medium heat. Blend the leaves with a cup of water and add strained juice to the pot. Add the remaining water, stirring continuously. Remove from heat as the mixture comes to the boil. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then serve with jaggery.

 
From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Seven
 
 
A distinct Gotu Kola with flehy leaves.
 
You will often see Gotu Kola for sale in Asian grocers or markets.
 
Gotu Kola plants for sale at a nursery.
 
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The Marvellous Mushroom Plant
             

Claire Bickle

 

 

 

 

 

   

I love this plant and never tire of the crisp crunchy slightly mushroom flavoured leaves.

This little known herb or salad green is a native to Papua New Guinea and is a perennial plant that grows 40-70cm tall. It has the lustrous thick glossy leaves that are slightly crinkled and the most attractive sky blue flowers in the spring.

The Mushroom Plant is a nutritious vegetable that is actually higher in protein than the real deal – the mushrooms we are used to eating. It also contains good levels of calcium, vitamin C, beta-carotene, iron and vitamins and minerals, so it is a nutritious little powerhouse of goodness that everyone who can grow it should.

The article looks at:

  • Culture
  • Uses

A quick recipe for Watermelon, Watercress, Fetta and Mushroom Plant Salad is also included in the magazine – reproduced in full here also.

 

Watermelon, Watercress, Fetta and Mushroom Plant Salad

2 limes
1 small red onion
1.5kg watermelon
250g feta
1 bunch mushroom plant
1 bunch of rocket
1 bunch watercress
Nasturtiums (or calendulas during cooler months)
2 Tbs Olive oil
100g black olives pitted
black pepper

Peel and halve red onion. Cut into very fine half moons, then steep in the juice of two limes.

Remove rind and seeds from the watermelon, cut into 3-4cm triangular chunks.

Cut feta into similar sized pieces place into a bowl, add watercress, rocket and mushroom plant into bowl.

Tip onions and lime juice over the salad bowl add oil and olives and toss gently so that feta and melon do not lose their shape.

Add black pepper to taste and nasturtiums/calendula flowers as a garnish.
For something different – substitute caramabola as a fruit, Lebanese cress or some fresh oyster mushrooms.

 
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Seven
 
 
Watermelon, Watercress, Fetta and Mushroom Plant Salad
 
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The Avocado
             

Barbara Beerling

 

   

The Avocado (Persea americana) is a native of Central America and the West Indies where the fruit was being extensively cultivated by the Aztec and Inca empires.

Avocados are recorded growing in Australia as early as the mid-eighteenth century but the first importation of named cultivars arrived from California in 1928. From these humble beginnings in the 1930s, Australia now has about 700 avocado producers and together they cultivate 6000 hectares of avocados in the major growing areas of the northern rivers region of New South Wales, South East Queensland, Bundaberg-Childers district, Atherton Tablelands, South West Western Australia and along the Murray River.
The Avocado belongs to the family Lauraceae which includes the Camphor Laurel (Cinnamomum camphora), Sassafras (Doryophora sassafras) and Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum).

The growth habit varies from tall and upright to well-shaped and spreading. The fruit has one seed and the flesh has a consistency of butter. The fruit is unique in that it will not ripen until harvested and may be left on the tree until needed.

This article also looks at:

  • Origin of races
  • Flowering
  • Culture
  • Pruning
  • Pests
  • Cultivars
 
From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Seven
 
 
‘Hass’ avocado. [AA]
 
Avocado. [BB]
 
‘Hass’ trees. [AA]
 
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Bananas
             

 

   

It is estimated that 90% of all Australian bananas are grown in Queensland, with the remainder coming from northern New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Home gardeners remain passionate growers in all regions where bananas produce fruit.

The young tree tends to be frost tender, but will re-shoot in the spring. Once it reaches above 2-3m it becomes more frost tolerant. From first planting, it takes approximately 12 months for a plant to produce its first bunch and another 8 to 10 months for subsequent bunches.

To prevent the spread of pests and diseases that can damage commercial crops, both home gardeners and commercial growers are encouraged to grow only plants sourced from certified nurseries that have grown the plants from tissue culture. Dividing a clump and sharing suckers with friends and other gardeners can potentially spread diseases – and it is illegal.

Additional Resources

 
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Seven
 
 
Inspection for disease.
 
Underside of a diseased leaf.
 
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Brush Pepperbush
             

By the Queensland Bushfood Association (QBA)
Images + text
Graeme White Recipe John King

 

   

This plant was previously named Drimys insipida. Tasmannia is a genus of approximately 40 species, about 15 of which are native to Australia.
There are two species of Tasmannia that are being used commercially; these are Mountain Pepperberry (Tasmannia lanceolata) and Dorrigo Pepper (Tasmannia stipitata). They are both cool climate plants: T. lanceolata occurs in Tasmania and the alpine regions of Victoria and Southern New South Wales; T. stipitata occurs naturally in the Dorrigo Plateau area of Northern New South Wales.

A third species, which occurs in the wet forests along the eastern coast from northern Queensland down to southern New South Wales, also shows great culinary potential.

While the larger fruits of the Brush Pepperbush may be ‘insipid’ and not suited to drying as a peppercorn, the dried leaves can be used as a peppery spice. The aromatic compound that gives the Tasmannia species their hot spicy characteristics is the polygodial compound which is present in the fruits and in the leaves.

 
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Seven
 
 
Brush Pepperbush.
 
Brush Pepperbush.
 
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