The bush tomato is a small desert plant approximately 30cm in height, with grey to bronze leaves and attractive mauve/blue flowers. It grows naturally through the central deserts from Tennant Creekin the Northern Territory to Marla in South Australia.
Part of the tomato family (which includes potatoes and capsicums), there are over 100 species of Solanums (Wild Tomatoes) in Australia. However, only six are known to be edible, and Kutjera – Desert Raisins – are the most well known and certainly the most consumed species of the “bush tomatoes”.
This arid lands fruit has been a staple food of the indigenous desert dwellers of Central Australia for many thousands of years. A rich source of minerals, particularly potassium, they are also high in vitamin C. The traditional harvesting method is to collect the sun dried fruits of the small bush in the autumn and winter months. In the dried form, Bush Tomato can be stored for several years.