Western Australia is a huge state made up mostly of arid outback terrain. The population is concentrated in its fertile south west corner mainly in its capital, Perth. Known for its abundant parkland, beaches and snorkelling sites, Perth is the World’s most isolated capital city.
355 kilometres north of Perth, where the desert meets the south west, is a 686 km² nature region formerly known as White Wells Station which was acquired by the organisation Bush Heritage Australia in 2003 for conservation and renamed Charles Darwin Reserve.
A tree that is common within the Reserve is the grey, gaunt and gnarly West Australian Sandalwood Tree. Like the Quandong Tree, the slow growing Sandalwood is a root parasite, favouring wattles such as Acacia acuminata as a host tree which provides extra water and nutrients.
Sandalwood nuts are highly regarded as Aboriginal ‘bush medicine’ and were quickly adapted by the white settlers. The old timers always carried sandalwood nuts in a tobacco tin for medicinal purposes to quickly cure urinary scalding or “devilled kidneys” which resulted from drinking the highly mineralised waters.
Western Australian Sandalwood Tree has been a source of protein and nutrition since ancient times. European explorers first noted the Western Australian Sandalwood Tree in 1832. The first exports to the Far East for ceremonial purposes commenced in late 1844.
However with the introduction of sheep, goats and rabbits, sandalwood seedlings were decimated. This in turn impacted on the critically endangered native Brush Tailed Bettong who were instrumental in the propagation of the tree as they would scatter and hoard nuts like squirrels, burying them and forgetting about them, so that the seeds germinated and the trees regenerated naturally.
As the wild stands became depleted a concerted effort to cultivate Sandalwood began.
Following initial plantings in 2007, the first sandalwood nuts were harvested in 2011 and the journey to re-establishing them as a nutritional and valuable bush food began.
Western Australia currently has the largest sandalwood plantation resource in the world.
Sandalwood Nut kernels have an unique and delicate flavour with an amazing texture which make it a highly versatile ingredient or stand-alone product. Sandalwood Nuts are packed full of goodness with very impressive nutritional properties. This superb native Australian Bush Food is now being appreciated and embraced by a vast range of consumers, Chefs in fine restaurants and numerous chocolatiers.
Creamy WA Sandalwood nuts are Australia’s second native nut behind the Macadamia nut. Roasted Sandalwood Nuts contain 38% Omega 9 oils, less than 1% carbohydrates, 17% fibre and 17% protein. They can be included in many diets such as gluten free, vegan, vegetarian and paleo.
Lentil Carrot Sandalwood Salad with Tanami Fire, Pepperberry and River Mint
Place 150gm puy lentils into 500ml vegetable stock, bring to boil then reduce to simmer 25 mins. Drain and cool to room temp.
Combine 4 grated carrots, 120gm raisins, 40gm nuts (sandalwood and macadamia roasted and roughly chopped), 2 tspns finely chopped coriander, 1 tspn Tanami Fire Seasoning, 1/4 tspn Ground Pepperberry, 1 tspn dried River Mint, 2 tspns grated ginger, salt to taste. Mix in lentils. Set aside for 20 mins at least.
Mix 2 tspns honey and Tbspn Olive or Macadamia Oil. Pour over lentil mix , stir through. Serve.
Macadamia and Sandalwood Dukkah
Grind 500gm dry roasted macadamia nuts and 250gm roasted sandalwood nuts. Add 30gm crushed Bush Tomato,15gm Desert Lime Powder, 30gm Garlic powder, 40gm Artesian Salt, 20gm saltbush powder 100gm toasted sesame seeds and 15 gram roasted and ground wattleseed.