Several Cottesloe Coastcare members were lucky enough to go to the Bushfood and Coastal Conference run by Perth NRM in March 2021. It sounded like a fascinating day and you can read more in Mike and Valdene’s report here. Valdene’s snippets also have some really interesting notes about our local bushfoods and lots of information about propagating and growing them. Did you know that Empress Josephine had Sea Celery or Apium prostratum in her garden at Malmaison and that Atriplex is a particularly good flavouring for your roast lamb? You can read more here.
Some highlights from Mike and Valdene…
Dale Tillbrook, a Wardandi Bibbulmun woman, welcomed us to the conference and to Whadjuk Noongar country, and gave us an overview of some of the sources of bush tucker that could be found close to the coast.
Dr John Huisman, curator at the WA Herbarium, then gave us a very detailed account of our local seaweeds or macro-algae. He talked about the different phyla of seaweeds (red, brown and green), the early history of collection off the coast of WA, beginning with Archibald Menzies and Robert Brown who sailed with Matthew Flinders. More information on our local seaweeds from Mike Gregson is here.
Then he talked about the uses, culinary and otherwise, of many seaweeds, including nori for making sushi, the manufacture of agar and carrageenin, and how the early settlers made jelly from our local Jelly Weed. Many of our seaweeds, such at Sea Lettuce or Ulva lactuca, are edible, but anything contaminated with cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) can be toxic.
Then there is the amazing story of Asparagopsis taxiformis, which, when added to cattle feed, reduces the cows’ methane production by 95%, which is wonderful news for ameliorating climate change.