Ever heard of the Kakadu plum? What about one of its many other names billy goat plum, gubinge, green plum, wild plum, murunga, manmohpan, and marnybi?
I hadn’t either until — with the recent surge of interest in consuming more immune-boosting vitamin C — I began to deep dive into plant-based sources of this vital nutrient. Outside of cooking, the Kakadu is an extraordinarily healthy food, filled with antioxidants, phytonutrients, and all kinds of nutrients.
Let’s take a journey through the world of Kakadu plums!
What are Kakadu Plums?
While this fruit may have plum in its name, the Kakadu is actually closely related to almonds and grows almost exclusively in the “Eucalypt open woodlands across Northwestern Australia.” The fruit is rather small, — the size of an “olive or cherry” — has a “pale green” coloring with a “stone in the center,” and has been described to have a fibrous texture with a “tart, bitter taste.”
In Australia, this sweet fruit is oftentimes used in preserves, sauces, chutneys, and juices, yet in traditional medicine, “Kakadu plums were used to treat colds, the flu, and headaches,” as well as used as an “antiseptic or soothing balm for the limbs.”
Nutritional Breakdown of Kakadu Plums
What makes a Kakadu plum a superfood? It all comes down to its high nutritional value, which has recently caught the attention of the health world.
The Kakadu plum is known for 4 specific nutrients — fiber, vitamin C, copper, and iron — all of which are essential. Specifically, 100 grams of Kakadu plum contains over 7 grams of fiber, 3,230 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, 100 percent of your daily value of copper, and 13.3 percent of your daily value of iron. All four of these are impressive, yet the one that truly stands out is that vitamin C quantity — 3,230 percent of your daily value!
Outside of the “normal” nutritional breakdown, Kakadu plums also contain a few rarer nutrients. In particular, they are “rich in a type of organic acid known as ellagic acid,” which is a polyphenol and strong antioxidant. Speaking of antioxidants, the Kakadu plum contains “[six] times the amount of polyphenols and 13.3 times more antioxidant activity than blueberries,” a fruit touted for its antioxidant content.
Health Benefits of Kakadu Plums
The health benefits reaped from consuming Kakadu plums stem from that wonderful nutrient panel. First and foremost, this fruit is great for boosting your immune system thanks to the powerful punch of vitamin C. Beyond that, Kakadu plum may be helpful in both preventing and fighting cancer due to the high amounts of polyphenols and antioxidants. Yet, the list goes on! Kakadu plums may help fight Alzheimer’s, — once again thanks to those antioxidants! — reduce age-related wrinkles, — thanks to the collagen-boosting ability of vitamin C — and they may have antibacterial properties, — which “could make them useful for preserving foods and preventing foodborne illnesses.”
Cooking with Kakadu Plums
Alright, you’re sold on the fruit, now let’s start cooking! While it’s totally possible to simply consume this fruit like … well … fruit, that can definitely get a bit boring. Plus, the Kakadu plum is described as a bit tart, so it consuming the fruit raw may not be for everyone. Here are a few creative ways to use this fruit in the kitchen!
1. Chia Pudding
Chia pudding is one of my all-time favorite plant-based snacks! It’s rich in fiber, antioxidants, and, —depending on the recipe, of course — can be completely sugar-free and super healthy. There are literally hundreds of ways to make chia pudding, yet the base is fairly straightforward in most recipes: chia seeds and plant-based milk (or water). It’s that simple! Of course, you’ll most likely want to add some flavorings, which is where it gets fun! Keep in mind that adding Kakadu plums means you’ll probably want to balance out the tartness with a bit of sweetness such as maple syrup, a bit of coconut sugar, or your favorite sweet berry!
2. Fruit Smoothies
When it comes to making something palatable, you can’t go wrong with a fruit-heavy smoothie! Take into consideration the nutrient profile of the Kakadu plum and you can take a regular smoothie and turn it into a superfood meal. Plus, as long as you stick with at least one or sweet fruit additions — think blueberries, strawberries, mango, or pineapple — then you don’t have to worry about the tartness of those Kakadu plums.
Here are a few suggestions to inspire you! Pomegranate Beet Citrus Smoothie With Mint and Ginger, Silky Strawberry Avocado Smoothie, Sunshine Smoothie, or this Blueberry Superfood Breakfast Smoothie.
3. Baked Goods
Maybe try out your favorite fruit-based baked good with a Kakadu plum? Tarts, pie, turnovers, crisps, and even cake! The key to using Kakadu plums in baked goods is to make sure the fruit isn’t the central cog of the sweetness profile. This means if the fruit is supposed to provide almost 100 percent of the sweetness in the recipe, you’ll want to add a bit of something to balance out the tartness of the Kakadu plums!
Get your inspiration from these simple recipes! Pear Strudel With Pistachio Pesto, Probiotic Blueberry Yogurt Bites, Spelt Tarts with Chocolate Mousse topped with Strawberries and Cherries, or this Apple Crisp.
4. Preserves and Jams
Due to their fibrous texture and sour taste profile, Kakadu plums are excellent fruits for creating your favorite at-home jam or preserve. All you need is a basic, vegan-friendly preserve or jam recipe and simply sub in your Kakadu plums. This is an excellent way to get your daily vitamin C and a dose of fiber simply by slathering your morning toast with Kakadu plum jam!
5. Natural Skincare
While eating Kakadu plums is really the best way to get the most bioavailable source of those nutrients, Kakadu plum extract has also been growing in popularity as a natural skincare ingredient. When it comes to your skin, vitamin C and antioxidants are truly creme de la creme! In particular, Kakadu plum extract has been shown to have anti-aging powers, is anti-inflammatory, fades dark marks, brightens, and can even prevent scarring.
Looking to make your own Kakadu plum powder face mask? First, select the perfect powder! If you decide to make your own skincare, source only the best Kakadu plum extract available such as this Australian Superfood Company Kakadu Plum Freeze Dried Powder for $21.98, this Bushfood Kakadu Plum 100% Pure Premium Grade for $45.00, or this MaxRelief Kakadu Plum Powder for $45.00.
Looking to learn a bit more about that wonderful vitamin C? Here are a handful of great resources to get you started.
- How to Get Vitamin C from Different Sources
- A Green Monster’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition: Vitamin C
- 15 Vitamin C-Rich Recipes to Support Your Immune System
- 10 Plant-Based Vitamin C Supplements to Boost Immune Function and Fight Chronic Disease
- How Vitamin C Can Improve Your Heart Health
- 10 Cruelty-Free Vegan Vitamin C Skincare Products
- Foods (That Aren’t Oranges) With the Highest Amount of Vitamin C
Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!
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- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
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- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
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