Tuesday, June 4, 2013
The golden wattle, Acacia pycnantha
You will love this story, and it is true.
My Dad was a senior civil servant, often the senior servants of Agricultural dept would give him plants to grow. Once he had 6 of these saplings. They told him was Christmas tree.
He nurtured them, but they didn't look anything like the pine trees we associate with, to be Christmas trees. They didn't have pine needles and were not conical in shape.
Mum likes to get rid of things, Mum says they are not Christmas trees, don't waste the land, get rid of them.
Dad likes to keep things, he says since he has already planted them, let them stay.
Each time we see the saplings grow taller and taller, we said what the heck. They definitely were not Christmas trees.
Mum and Dad went to live in Australia. Sadly mum died.
I went with my sister Helen and we walked in the bush.
The wattles were in in full bloom.There were a zillion yellow baubles.
Excitedly I exclaimed,"That's the Christmas tree Dad grew."
I told Helen, now I understand why it is called a Christmas tree. It is the Wattle tree, the Australian National flower.
Wattleseeds are the edible seeds from any of the 120 species of Australian Acacia that were traditionally used as food by Australian Aborigines and they were eaten either green (and cooked) or dried (and milled to a flour) to make a type of bush bread.
Acacia seed flour has recently gained popularity in Australia due to its high nutritional content, hardiness, availability, and low toxicity. Due to its low glycemic index, it is also often incorporated into diabetic foods. Vic Cherikoff (a significant pioneer in the Australian native food industry) developed Wattleseed as a flavouring in 1984 from selected species and this is now the major commercial product used because of its chocolate, coffee, hazelnut flavor profile. It is often added to ice cream, granola, chocolates and bread and widely used by chefs to enhance sauces and in whipped cream and other dairy desserts. Baron's Brewery in Sydney makes Wattle Seed Ale, a spiced ale that is lightly flavored with Wattle seed. Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE also makes a beer called Urkontinent made with Wattle seed, among other interesting spices.