Reposted from 2008 - with some changes and additions:
Kawakawa leaves bring delicious flavours to both sweet and savoury dishes. Choose the leaves that have been eaten by bugs.
Kawakawa has various powerful medicinal properties. It contains painkilling compounds, and is a mild sedative. It belongs to the same family as kava and black pepper.
Round Wellington the little orange fruits on the female trees ripen during summer. The sweet pulp tastes passionfruity, and the seeds are quite hot (like black pepper, rather than chilli).
They ripen to some extent off the bush. Don't pick the completely green ones - they won't. But if they're starting to blush orange, they'll complete their ripening quite easily sitting on your shelf or table or windowsill.
I'm not sure exactly how long they keep for, but once I picked some on a Monday afternoon and they were still good by late Thursday night.
Also, 'Mike' has recently suggested in the comments to this entry that they freeze well. Definitely going to try that this year! (And do read the comments - people are doing some yummy things with kawakawa.)
More on kawakawa from Martin Nicholls
I got a great email from Martin Nicholls, a forager who uses native herbs a lot.
On kawakawa Martin says:
I agree wholeheartedly on the use of kawakawa and get stuck into its fruit whenever available, but I have found it can act as a powerful laxative if one over-indulges in it!
Seeds are a very useful spice in cooking, especially with pork or lamb. I have heard it said that an alcoholic punch made from the fruit is a powerful aphrodisiac, but I have no personal experience of this (nor would I admit it if it were!).
I, myself, am sceptical because alcohol itself can loosen one's sexual inhibitions so I suspect attributing blame to kawakawa fruit might be a convenient excuse.
Chocolate-coated kawakawa berry recipe
Kawakawa honey ice cream recipe
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