Although identifying native food plants and animals of this area is covered in my survival skills training, I also take people on a one or two day food identifying weekends. One-on-one training as well as groups can be catered for.

There are a few books which cover many of our native foods, but they mainly focus on desert and top-end plants and there are few books that can help you identify food plants of southern Australia/Victoria. I have often lived off the land and know the edible plants and animals in this area. There are many that you will not find in books.

Hands on training is by far the best way to learn. We will discover many coastal as well as forest and freshwater foods to taste and cook. Different plants have different edible parts depending on the time of year. Summer is the best time to hunt for plants, but courses will be held at other times too. You won't be required to eat insects or other animals if you don't wish but some trapping methods will be discussed.

 

Here is a list of some of the edible foods found in this area. Please note that I don't know many of the names of plants. If you want to taste plants for yourselves, please get a knowledgeable person to point them out to you first, some can make you sick.

Some of these foods, especially the animals are protected so don't try eating them unless in a real survival situation.

 

Plants 

Wattles - the pods and seeds of many wattles were valuable aboriginal foods. The ripe seeds are great protein and fat sources. The gum can also be eaten, it has no or little taste. The seeds have a pleasant nutty taste.

Native reeds such as water ribbons - many freshwater reeds have tasty tubers or underground stems. One common one tastes like watermelon.

Bulrush (cattails) - These are a great survival food. There is starch to be found in the underground stems, pollen and shoots. Found in freshwater areas. The starch and pollen can be made into flatcakes for cooking and tastes like flour.

Sawgrass - watch out for the shearp leaves, they can cut your hands badly. The growing tips are delicious boiled or roasted. Taste like asparagus.

Native orchids - Our ground orchids have tiny bulbs that can be watery, sweet or a little bitter depending on the variety.

Native raspberry - small sweet fruits although the plants don't produce many fruits.

Pigface - yummy fruits in summer - just squeeze the sunwarmed insides into your mouth. One of my favourites.

Heaths - most heaths bear edible fruit but the seeds are large and flesh minimal. The cranberry heath I think is the best

Native cherry - not really worth eating but a relation that lives by the sea has great fruits, another favourite

Mistletoe - unlike those in other countries, our mistletoes are safe to eat. Sweet and pleasant fruits.

Muntries - one of the best wild foods. Ripening in summer, these fruits taste like dried apples and are plentiful.

Morels and other fungi - Please don't taste any fungi unless you absolutely know they are non-poisonous. Some of the edible ones like morels and puffballs are easy to identify.

Dodder - a leafless twining vine with edible berries.

New zealand spinach/warrigal greens - a leaf vegetable found on the coast

Native mint - great for flavouring. Found in swampy areas

Native parsley - grows by the sea and can be used for flavouring. Please don't eat any plants that look like carrot or parsley unless you KNOW what they are.

        

Animals 

Rabbits - not native but relatively easy to snare.

Yabbies - most fresh water is home to yabbies in the warmer months. Easy to catch and yummy.

Turtles - survival food found in most freshwater

Kangaroo

Wichitty and Bardi grubs - surprisingly tasty

Possum

Reptiles like snakes and lizards

Birds

Deer - numerous here but not good for survival - you can't catch them easily

Fish - most rivers here are good for fishing

Shellfish - on rocky shores  

 

More plants

Saltbush - a coastal plant with edible leaves

Dandelion - edible salad leaves

Sorrel and other weeds - not native but the leaves can be eaten in salads or boiled.

Thistles - not native but the green stems can be peeled and eaten

Kelp - Seaweed. Fairly tasteless but good for filling your belly

Native pepper - a great seasoning plant that grows in Victorias cool rainforests

Native celery - another cool rainforest plant that tastes just like celery.

Pine nuts - not native but the seeds from the pine cones can be eaten. Dry the cones by your fire to open them up. The pollen from pine trees in spring can also be eaten.

 

 

 
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