Flowers – cooked. Rich in pollen, they are often used in fritters.
The bark exudes an edible gum. Some species produce a gum that is dark and is liable to be astringent and distasteful, but others produce a light gum and this is sweet and pleasant. It can be sucked like candy or soaked in water to make a jelly. The gum can be warmed when it becomes soft and chewable.
Seed – cooked. It is dried, ground into a flour and used with cereals in making cakes etc[177, 183]. Acacia seeds are highly nutritious and contain approx 26% protein, 26% available carbohydrate, 32% fibre and 9% fat. The fat content is higher than most legumes with the aril providing the bulk of fatty acids present. These fatty acids are largely unsaturated which is a distinct health advantage although it presents storage problems as such fats readily oxidise. The mean total carbohydrate content of 55.8 + 13.7% is lower than that of lentils, but higher than that of soybeans while the mean fibre content of 32.3 + 14.3% is higher than that of other legumes such as lentils with a level of 11.7%. The energy content is high in all species tested, averaging 1480+270 kJ per 100g. Wattle seeds are low glycaemic index foods. The starch is digested and absorbed very slowly, producing a small, but sustained rise in blood glucose and so delaying the onset of exhaustion in prolonged exercise.
A sweet red or white ‘lerp’ that forms on the leaves and branches is eaten. Lerp is a protective shield secreted from the anus of sap-sucking insects. The taste is sweet and it was used as a staple food by the Aborigines in some areas of Australia. It is not clear if the lerp is eaten when the insects are still present or if it can be eaten after they have gone[K].
A large succulent gall, known as ‘mulga apple’ is produced by the tree and is said to quench the thirst.