Davidson Plum Davidsonia pruriens var. jerseyana
A bombshell of colour and intense clean, tart flavour, Davidson Plum has become one of my favourite bushfood fruits in the kitchen.
This tall (3-4m) slender rainforest plant will grow and bear in the tiniest garden space. It prefers a semi-shady location and does well under the canopy of taller trees. The plum-shaped fruit grows in clusters along the stem, ripening in early summer, usually December to early January.
The fruit drops readily when ripe and is firm so doesn’t bruise as it lands on the ground on mulch and leaf litter. Most of the fruit is out reach, so I simply give the trunk a little shake and collect the fallen ripe fruit from the ground. I wash and drain the fruit and freeze what I cant process immediately to keep for when I’m ready to use them throughout the year in a special dish or to make up a batch of sorbet or cordial.
There is another variety from North Queensland known as the Atherton Tablelands or Queensland Davidson Plum, which grows a bit taller and bears its fruit in late Autumn. The fruit of the North Queensland variety is larger with a firmer flesh than the Northern NSW variety, and is great for making sauces. The NSW variety has a richer flavour and colour for jams and cordials.
Both the flavour and colour of Davidson Plum are quite intense and packed with anti-oxidants. While it’s too tart for most of us to eat as a fresh fruit, in cooking it has fast become one of my favourite bush fruits. A little Davidson plum goes a long way to colour and flavour ice cream, mousse and sweet sauces. It makes a sensational fruity savoury sauce and gives kangaroo goulash a rich fruity tang. I also love it steeped in brandy with sugar as a liqueur. The skins contain some tannin which makes it an ideal crop for making fruit wine – I’ve enjoyed some excellent local Davidson Plum wines and am seriously tempted to get a home wine-making set up to make my own.
Nutritional statistics (http://www.aminoz.com.au)
100g of Davidson Plum contains:
- Energy: (kJ) 82.0 kJ Calories 19.6 cal Fibre 5.3g
- Sodium 2.0 mg; Potassium 150.0 mg; Calcium 12.0 mg; Magnesium 14.0mg; Iron 1.2 mg; Zinc 0.5 mg; Copper 0.1 mg; Niacin (B3) 0.1 mg
Davidson Plum Recipes
Davidson Plum Cordial
This cordial or fruit syrup keeps for quite a long time (up to 12 months) and with dilution retains the rich fruity flavour and colour of Davidsons plum with enough tartness to make it a very delicious and refreshing cold drink.
- 500 gr Davison Plum
- 500ml cider vinegar
- 1 litre water
- lemon juice
- Simmer fruit & vinegar for 15 min
- Add water and bring to boil for a further 10 minutes
- Strain out liquid through a very fine sieve or muslin cloth
- Measure liquid into pan and for each cup of liquid add 1 cup (250gr) sugar and juice of half lemon
- simmer for 15 min
- Remove from heat and stand a few minutes
- Pour into sterilised bottles, seal and store in a cool cupboard
Try this with carbonated water (soda water), a sparkling fruity effervescence will wow you family and guests. I have home soda fountain and carbonate our own rainwater for making sparkling drinks.
Kangaroo & Davidson Plum Goulash (‘Roo-lash’)
3 cups diced kangaroo meat
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup davidson plums, pitted and quartered
8 Cinnamon Myrtle leaves fresh or dried (or 1 tsp ground)
2 cloves garlic crushed or minced
1 onion (halved lengthwise and finely sliced)
2 tsp soy sauce (Tamari gives the best flavour)
1 tsp cracked pepper (or 1/2 tsp Dorrigo pepper)
2 heaped tablespoons sour cream
Optional – bunya nuts provide an interesting textural addition to this dish as in the photo above
- marinate kangaroo meat in wine and davidson plum – at least 1 hour (up to 8 hours)
- Drain liquid off meat and put marinade liquid aside for adding later
- heat pan, add oil, then fry onion
- maintain high temperature & gradually stir-fry in kangaroo meat
- add garlic, soy sauce and cracked pepper, stir through
- add the marinade wine and cinnamon myrtle leaves
- place lid on pot, reduce heat and simmer for 15 min
- stir in sour cream
- salt to taste
- rest for 10 minutes before serving
• serve with baked or boiled yam or steamed chats served on a bed of blanched warrigal greens topped with macadamia cream
• serve with Bunya Rice Pilaf
• makes a rich tasty accompaniment to warrigal & macadamia pesto pasta (mix pesto through pasta before serving)
Davidson Plum Flummery
Flummery was a popular dessert in the 1960’s and worth reviving. It’s a concentrate jelly whipped with either cream, sour cream or yogurt or comination thereof which sets as fluffy, creamy, rich melt-in-the-mouth cold dessert. Vegetarians can use agar agar to substitute for standard jelly crystals.
1 standard 85g packet of Portwine or Berry Jelly crystals
1 cup Davidson plums
250 ml water
100ml plain yogurt
100ml sour cream
- Put Davidson plum fruit and water in small saucepan and bring to boil, simmer gently for 10 min.
- Press fruit with potato masher and strain through a fine sieve, pressing all the liquid out
- Measure liquid and add more water to bring up to 250ml
- Bring to boil , remove from heat and add jelly crystals and dissolve well.
- Put liquid in a small mixing bowl (with 1 litre capacity) in fridge to set
- When jelly has set, add yogurt and sour cream and beat with mixer on high speed. Mix until everything is well combined and it fluffs up.
- Decant into serving bowl or individual dessert bowls, wine glasses or parfait glasses and refrigerate.
This article and the recipes are from the revised new edition of Bushfood Cookbook – a Garden to Table Guide by Robyn Francis, to be released soon as an e-book.
Photos: Robyn Francis