Wattleseed, that has been the diet of indigenous Australians for thousands of years, is highly sought after by top chefs across the world. And there is an ever-growing demand for it which is quite difficult to meet.
Mark Lucas has been growing Wattle trees and harvesting the edible seeds for more than 20 years. Lucas says the seeds are regarded for its nutritional value, richness in protein and fibre. Adding to its nutritious value, its a good source of magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron and selenium. He said he was initially growing the Wattle trees for its flowers. The flowers are highly regarded for in the Japanese market and are also somewhat of a 'luxury'.
"The Wattleseed is known for it's coffee, chocolate and hazelnut flavour and is a very good substitute for vanilla. After we harvest it, we roast it and grind it like you would a coffee bean," Lucas said.
AgriFutures Australia says there is more to Wattle seeds. "Wattle seed flour is used in cakes, damper, bread, casseroles and curries; the essence is used as a flavouring ingredient, and wattleseed is also used in ice-cream, sauces, marinades and as caffeine-free coffee." Suzanne Thompson, chairwoman of Australian Native Food and Botanicals (ANFAB) said there is a huge interest for Australian native foods in the national and international market. She said there is a growing demand for it in the US, Europe and Asian countries.