MANY HANDS: Members and friends of the Bunya Mountains Natural History Association shelling Bunya nuts ready to freeze. Ruth Wright, Gill Marshall, Peter Marshall, Ian Harris, Lynne Downes, Jen Hintz and Sandy Learmont.
MANY HANDS: Members and friends of the Bunya Mountains Natural History Association shelling Bunya nuts ready to freeze. Ruth Wright, Gill Marshall, Peter Marshall, Ian Harris, Lynne Downes, Jen Hintz and Sandy Learmont.

The best way to enjoy this year's bumper bunya nut crop

UNLESS you've been living under a rock lately, you've probably noticed the unprecedented number of bunya nuts dropping from the sky across the region.

Bunya Mountain resident, treasurer of the Bunya Mountains Natural History Association and Bunya tree expert, John Learmont said this year marks a bumper crop for the delicious, albeit dangerous, bush food.

"We can't remember ever seeing this many bunya nuts before," he said.

"They are literally thousands of them covering the sides of the roads up here.

An endemic species to south-east Queensland, the Bunya Pine is a species of conifer that only bears a harvest of cones every three years.

 

The iconic Bunya Pine Tree.
The iconic Bunya Pine Tree.

"The bunya tree has both male and female cones and is pollinated in September each year," Mr Learmont said.

"But the cone doesn't mature for 15-18 months, so the cones that are mature now would have been pollinated back in September 2018.

"The male cones are called catkins and when September comes the entire Bunya Mountains is covered in their light yellow pollen when they drop to the ground.

"We knew it was going to be a big crop this year because of the heavy pollination we saw in September 2018.

 

Bunya nuts in their various forms.
Bunya nuts in their various forms.

"We initially we worried the drought would affect the crop but after the rains came in mid January cones began to fall a month earlier than usual. The Bunya Mountains Community Association Inc. are taking advantage of this year's healthy harvest and are shelling as many as they can get their hands on to sell around the region so the entire South Burnett can enjoy the delicious, versatile nut.

If you've never cooked with bunya nuts before the Bunya Mountian Community Association Inc. have created a special edition recipe book full to bursting with delicious and healthy recipes from baked goods to tasty soups all featuring the humble nut.

 

If you've never cooked with bunya nuts before the Bunya Mountian Community Association Inc. have created a special edition recipe book full to bursting with delicious and healthy recipes from baked goods to tasty soups all featuring the humble nut. Picture:
If you've never cooked with bunya nuts before the Bunya Mountian Community Association Inc. have created a special edition recipe book full to bursting with delicious and healthy recipes from baked goods to tasty soups all featuring the humble nut. Picture:

The cookbook retails at $18.99 and can be purchased from the general store up at the Bunya Mountains as well as at the Kingaroy Visitor Information Centre.

It is illegal to take bunya nuts from national parks but you can collect them from the sides of roads or from private properties. If you don't have access to a bunya nut stash, fret not.

the Bunya Mountains Natural History Association sell 500g bags for $5.

You can also purchase a bag of shelled nuts and a cookbook yourself this weekend at the Bunya Mountain markets happening this Sunday below Poppies on the Hill.

For now you can take a look at their easy bunya nut guacamole recipe plus two other delicious meals from the wonderfully unique cookbook below:

 

BUNYA GUACAMOLE

Ingredients

2 ripe avocados, mashed

4 cooked and chopped bunya nuts

1 ripe tomato, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped,

Half a red onion, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

2 drops of tabasco sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Mix all ingredients together and chill.

 

EGG, MUSHROOM AND BUNYA NUT TARTLETS

Ingredients

2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry

4 cooked, chopped bunya nuts

6 eggs

200g mushrooms, chopped

1 onion, chopped

25g grated parmesan cheese

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tbsp melted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Line six tartlet cases with pastry. Bake at 180C until golden.

Mix mushrooms, onion, cheese, parsley, bunya nuts, butter and seasoning together.

Divide into tartlet cases and make indent in centre of each one with a spoon.

Break one egg into each tartlet. Bake at 180C for 15 minutes until the egg is set.

 

SMOKED SALMON AND BUNYA NUT PATE

Ingredients

500g smoked salmon

½ cup bunya nut meal

½ tsp grated nutmeg

200g butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Process all ingredients in blender until smooth.

Press into a small bowl. Cover with foil and chill. Serve with toast fingers.

South Burnett

ELECTION COVERAGE: Mayor candidate comments on early lead

premium_icon ELECTION COVERAGE: Mayor candidate comments on early lead

JUST under half the votes have been counted but who residents want to lead them in...

'Enormous tsunami' of cases coming

'Enormous tsunami' of cases coming

3600 cases of COVID-19 have now been confirmed across Australia

Australian hospitals to shut, 100,000 staff under threat

Australian hospitals to shut, 100,000 staff under threat

600 nurses have already been stood down in New South Wales