Sunday, March 3, 2019

Atherton Oak Nuts

12 o'clock: Citrus australasica, 1, Cissus hypoglauca, 4, Davidson plum (Davidsonia spp.), 7, Athertonia diversifolia, 9, Linospadix monostachya, 11, Macadamia tetraphylla, centre: Athertonia nuts
The Athertonia diversifolia tree (Atherton Oak) is endemic to the North East Queensland rainforest. It is a tall tree with large lobed leaves and large blue edible fruits. Inside the most unusual blue fruit is a woody kernel that contains a nut. The nut has a brown skin like the almond. The white nut has a taste that is slightly reminiscent of macadamia nuts and coconut. It is delicious and unique.

Hicksbeachia pinnatifolia and Athertonia
Hicksbeachia pinnatifolia and Athertonia

"Caution should be exercised and any seeds with the flavour or odour of bitter almonds should be completely avoided." (link)

Athertonia fruit and nuts
Pick up the blue fruit as early as possible, as wildlife and fungi like to move in on them. Admire the multitudes of blues, violets and red of the fruit.

Athertonia nut shells and leaf

Peel the pith, which is white and fluffy underneath as close as possible to the kernel. Let them dry for a day. Once the pith remains have gone, crack the woody nut with a hammer.

The shell will usually split into two beautiful wooden halves with craft potential. Blanch the nut as for almonds. The white Athertonia nut is thin and flat. A light dry roast enhances the flavour even more.


Bush Tucker of the Wet Tropics, The Ma:Mu Rainforest Aboriginal people’s  traditional lands are around Innisfail, Palmerston and Millaa Millaa areas.  The area’s volcanic soils and high rainfall have produced some of the most diverse tropical rainforest in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. (PDF)

"But we now know, thanks to Bill GammageBruce Pascoe and other writers, that Aborigines deliberately shaped their environment through firestick farming and various kinds of cultivation." Jeff Sparrow, What I’m Reading

Click to enlarge
All depicted fruits were grown on the Mid North Coast of NSW. Thanks to Jan for passing on the knowledge about the endemic flora.