Apart from consuming, selling, sharing or donating our honey, we can also barter with it. Yesterday we came home with 15 large Bunya cones. The result of a honey barter. A few days ago we put the last of a huge amount of beautiful mangoes into the freezer. The result of another honey barter.
For all of us non-Aussies, these are huge pine cones - can be over a foot across. They have edible nuts inside, which are the size of, or bigger than brazil nuts. They can be eaten raw, boiled or roasted and have a mild flavor. They were highly valued by aboriginal people, and probably still are. The trees can grow to 150 feet tall and live up to 500 years. They are quite common in Queensland, as @JeffH well knows, but the cones do not grow every year on every tree, so that increases the value of the barter.
Hi & thank you Dawn, it IS a valuable barter in our books. The trees are at the back of the playing field of a large school. Would you believe that no one at the school feels the same way as us. It’s sad that a lot of these cones fall to the ground & not get used. The groundsman picks them up & takes them to his shed. I hadn’t picked any up from that school for about 4 years. The last time he phoned me, (3 years ago) I had too many to deal with from a different source.
The vast majority of people just don’t want to be bothered with the work involved in dealing with them, it’s sad really.
The bloke didn’t even expect any honey. He was glad that we took them away to use. We’ll probably get a few more because they are still dropping.
Oh yes, those bunya nuts are great and very versatile. You can even make flour from them, easy with the thermomix.
Here around Byron people use them a lot more than elsewhere I think. A lot of bunya bunya grows on public land and the cones are quickly distributed amongst the population.
Just be careful under the trees. The cones are usually 5-10 Kg but can get up to 18 Kg, so falling from 30-40 metres would put a sizeable lump on the head.
On the bright side I am led to believe that the pain from a bee sting disappears instantly on being hit on the head with one of these cones.
What do you do with them, @JeffH? Have you made any videos of your method of preparing them? What is your favorite recipe? I just told David about these, and he wants to try them now. We will have to come to Australia though, can’t find them over here.
Hi Dawn, we have done a lot of videos on the bunyas. Wilma’s favorite uses for them is in a bunya nut baked custard & a bunya nut salad. We cook it by boiling for about 45 minutes, then cut the seed in half before removing the flesh. Then we blend it in a ThermoChef 24 hours later after it has sat in the fridge. One of my favorite uses for them is in pikelets, then topped with native bee honey. Here is a couple of videos.
Dawn, that year we got another 150 cones that I didn’t talk about in the videos. I forgot to delete that video once we got down to a manageable amount. The extra 150 cones was the reason for the extra freezer. I’m not even going near the spot where I got all of those cones this year.
PS Dawn, they are a close relative to the Monkey Puzzle tree. There may be some of those growing near your way. There could be both in botanical gardens over there if you make some inquiries.
I found this bloke on youtube who is over your way & is a huge fan of both species. He might know where you could access some nuts when the time comes for them to start dropping.
I cooked a number of them this year and the feedback from the foodies in my family was that roasting them in olive oil and garlic (post the boiling phase) got the thumbs up.
jeff- since I was a small kid I have been an ‘urban forager’- there is nothing I like more than ‘hard rubbish day’ or peach season in the suburbs. When I was young my brothers and I knew the location of every fruit tree that hung over a fence within a 5km radius of home- and when they would fruit. Every year we would make the rounds: peaches, apricots, oranges, mandarins, mulberries, plums…
I still keep a keen eye out-
I have made a few observations over the years;
anglo type houses/suburbs often waste a large amount of fruit
eastern european, greek, italian households make 100% use of every spare foot of land, every plant, every fruit.
In anglo neighborhoods I have seen superb peach trees in full fruit where the entire crop falls and rots on the ground. I can’t understand that! I’ll sneak out and take 10kg’s and gorge on them, dry them, make jam, freeze them- whatever it takes!
And yes- having honey to barter with is great: having hives can also be good: my favorite apiary is on a friends cherry farm- when I do my inspections I swim in their pool, play with their dog, pick fruit for myself and make a real day of it! They arn’t home during the week mostly so I can pretend it’s my farm…it’s glorious. Soon they will get their first batches of honey- and more fruit too hopefully. Win/Win. Which reminds me I better get up there to nab the last of the cherries, some apricots- and all those wild blackberries!
Oh boy, we have monkey puzzle trees here in Seattle too; I’ll have to keep an eye out for seeds
Well done Jack, you remind me so much of myself.
The only thing that I pick up from outside of houses is wood that I think I can use.
One day I recently picked up a heap of wood from a skip after asking the builder’s permission. He was really thrilled when I took him back a nice jar of honey.
Hi Tracey, it might be like it is around my way. A lot of the nuts could rot on the ground unless the odd enthusiast is prepared to gather them up.
Just a little bit of trivia. The indigenous people of the Andes used to feast on the Monkey Puzzle nuts the same as the Aborigines in Au used to feast on the Bunyas. That is before European settlement.
-saw many more of these growing up, but few around now.
Eucalyptus trees are often also a victim of their own success too.
HI Dan, it’s sad to see that happen.
I should put my thoughts into action & pester the politicians. What I think should happen is that more trees should be planted today that will grow big & old, so that future generations will be outraged if they are cut down. My point being: Plant future heritage listed trees today.