Quandong, quandang or quondong is a common name for the species, a small desert tree up to 4 metres high, with rough dark bark and pale green elongated hangingquandong leaves.
Quandong trees use the root system of other trees, shrubs and grasses to supplement their own supply of nutrients and water, and will therefore usually be found growing from the base of another tree.
The cream flowers are small and cup shaped, in clusters at the ends of the outer branchlets. The flowers form in late summer and – depending on the season – form fruit which is ready for harvest in early spring.
The shiny, bright scarlet fruit is about 2cm in diameter and contains one large nut or kernel, which is sometimes only marginally smaller than the fruit.
Quandongs have been an important traditional aboriginal fruit, which is, although somewhat tart, highly nutritious and contains twice the vitamin C of an orange.
The kernel is also very nutritious but indigenous Australians tended to use this mainly for medicinal purposes.
The wood from the slow growing trees was prized for the making of traditional bowls – pitti or coolamons.
The Quandong fruit feature heavily in aboriginal mythology across all the desert regions of Australia.
100gm of dried quandong halves (reconstitutes to approx 500gm when soaked in water overnight) are available year round from Taste Australia Bush Food Shop.
100gm Dried Quandong
Make sugar syrup of equal water and sugar.
Heat to 70C, in stainless steel saucepan .
Pour warm syrup over dried fruit, enough to cover it.
24 hours later add 20gm sugar and bring fruit in syrup to 70C
Turn off heat.
Repeat this process for 5 more days ,which brings you to 7 days in total processing.
On the 8th day warm the fruit mixture and pour off syrup (bottle off and use for toppings etc) catch fruit in strainer ,allow to drain, dry in oven on low temperature.
Quandong Chilli Sauce
15 Quandongs (dried or fresh) rough chop
1/4 cup vinegar (don’t use sweet spiced type)
2 small chillies – chopped and de- seeded
1 tsp salt
1 tbspn brown sugar or palm sugar
If using dried quandong soak in a little warm water for half an hour, then drain.
Simmer slowly quandong and chillies in the vinegar with salt and sugar added, until mixture has become reduced and quandongs soft and mushy, about 30 mins.
Sauce should coat the back of a spoon and not just run straight off.
Crack the quandong seeds open (you’ll need an Aussie B.O.N.K. or something with a similar nut cracking action as they’re tough).
Inside, remove the outer shell to uncover a dark brown rough coat which also needs to be removed so you can get at the oil rich kernel which you then roast to create yummy quandong flour.
Roasting is as important in the process as is roasting coffee beans ready for use.
100gm dried quandong
juice of one lime
Cover the quandong with water and soak for a minimum of one hour.
Cook until tender (about 30 minutes). Strain
Puree the fruit and place in a pot with sugar and lime juice.
Cook for approx half an hour until all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened.
Then pour into moulds and allow to cool before covering.