The Muntries, or Muntharis, are a ground hugging native plant of south eastern South Australia. It has radial branches spreading over sandy ground for up to 3 metres in all directions. It's small round leaves are about 3 to 4 mm in diameter and the plant displays profuse cream feathery flowers in spring. The fruit form in clusters and ripen in February to March.

Muntries hold a significant place in the historical diet of the Narrindjeri people of the Coorong in the south-east of South Australia. These fruit played a major part in the diet, not only when fresh, but also after being dried and stored for the winter months. They were often traded with other tribes, usually after being pounded into a paste which was then dried - the original fruit bar.

The fruit, which tastes like apple with a juniper essence, are now cultivated extensively on low trellises. There are many clones which have been selected for heavy fruit production, colour and flavour. The harvested fruit are sold fresh, frozen or dried and make a wonderful addition to sweet or savoury dishes, jams, chutney or simply as a dessert with ice cream.

Uses: In place of apple when cooking, as a dessert

Similar to: Apple/juniper

Season: February to March

Supplied: Fresh in season, frozen year round

Available to: Outback Pride Fresh food service

Mike and Gayle Quarmby

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