23-1336 – Mai Wiru (Bush Foods)
About the Artwork
Minyma tjuta ankupai putikutu piti wanatjara. Paluru tjana mai kutjupa kutjupa tjuta mantjilpai tjitji tjutaku. Waltjangku wirura palyara nyinantjaku.'
The women go out into the bush with their bowls and digging sticks. They collect all sorts of bush foods for the children.
Some of the delicious fruits found out bush include:
Unturngu – The bush banana. It is a slender creeper whose fruits are eaten raw when young, or baked when older.
Kaliny-Kalinypa – The honey grevillea is a hardy yellow desert flower that grows in sandy spinifex plains. The tasty honey-like nectar of the flower is often collected towards the end of the hot summer, and can be either mixed with water for a sweet cordial-like drink, or sucked straight off the plant!
Kampurarpa – The bush tomato plant, fruits after good rains and have a piquant spicy taste. They and can be eaten fresh from the bush or after they have dried and dropped to the ground. The dried fruits can also be ground and mixed with a little water to form a 'fruit patty'.
Mangata – The fruit of the Quandong tree (Santalum acuminatum). It is sometimes called bush peaches are sweet and deep red in colour when they are ready for picking in spring. The fruits have a hard seed inside which Anangu women paint beautiful designs on. These are then used to make bracelet and necklaces. Traditionally the kernel inside this seed could be used both medicinally and as a hair conditioner.
Ili – The ili is a delicious, sweet fruit, very high in vitamin C. It can be found growing naturally around Uluru and in rocky gullies throughout the central desert. It can be easily spotted when the fruit turns yellow, but is ripe and ready to eat when it turns a deep purplish red.
Arnguli – The flowers of the arnguli are small, creamy-white with four petals.The fruit which follow are olive-like, start off green, then change to purple then black as they ripen. They are flourish after rain and are an important bush food plant for Anangu. The fruit are eaten fresh or reconstituted in water if dry. Sometimes the kernels were roasted then ground to make an edible paste. The paste from the ground kernels was also used as a medical liniment. Another use for the fruit is as a dye.
Tjanmata – Bush Onions-The small bulbs of the bush onion are baked in hot sand and ashes then eaten, once the papery covering (nyiri) is removed.
Anangu say that by painting and talking about bush foods it guarantees that supplies will be plentiful all year round!