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Did you know there’s a plant that, hectare by hectare, is better at removing carbon dioxide from the air than the rainforest itself? The spekboom, a Karoo native that’s long been known to locals as a delicious treat as well as a critical cornerstone of the ecosystem, has a wide variety of uses, from cleaning the air to filling your pantry shelves. One of the goals of the Buffelsdrift Game Lodge’s conservation programs are to help preserve and restore the natural habitat of the area, ensuring the Karoo’s unique flora and fauna thrive for future generations. Today we take a look at the lighter (or should we say tastier) side of this important native plant- why not try a jar of tasty spekboom chutney as a treat?
The Spekboom, alongside other key local flora, not only helps restore the carbon balance of the atmosphere, but also helps reduce the soil erosion that the ancient, fragile quartz soils of the Karoo are so prone to. Additionally, they’re built to thrive in the semi-arid local conditions, which in turn helps conserve moisture within the soil and sustain local wildlife through periods of low water. Buffelsdrift’s Conservation Program aims to regenerate and restore the previously farmed land around us, especially focusing on dangerous erosion areas. We’ve planted over 3,500 Spekboom trees with the help of volunteers just like you- and each and every plant will help provide a brighter, better future for this gorgeous area of the Karoo.Spekboom actually means ‘pork bush’ in Afrikaans. While it’s a slightly tongue-in-cheek name for the plant, given its juicy fat leaves, it’s a great source of electrolyte-packed moisture as well as nutrition and has long been known as a kitchen helper as well as a helper for Mother Earth. Technically, you could walk out of our luxury tented camps and give a spekboom bush a nibble- but we suggest you try this delicious chutney recipe on for size instead!
Here’s what you need to make this delicious, nutritious dish at home.
You will be surprised at how easy this recipe is to whip up, too! Simply soak your spekboom in lightly salted water (the 5ml we mention). Then heat the oils over a medium heat, and fry the onion until soft and glassy. Now add the other veggies on the list along with the curry powder. Fry until the curry powder is fragrant and delicious. Then toss the rest of the ingredients, including the spekboom and water, into the pan. Boil the mix together for about 15 minutes. At this point, it should look thick and have the consistency of classic peach chutney. Now decant into your sterilised jars or bottles, and keep in the fridge. You can go all-out with a proper home canning setup if you wish, but simply boiling some clean glass jars and lids will be enough to make a chutney you can keep in the fridge for several weeks- and we guarantee it won’t last that long!Try an authentic taste of Africa, and take your memories of the luscious spekboom-packed countryside around Buffelsdrift Game Reserve home with you too. Simply, tasty, and definitely different, this Spekboom chutney will soon become a firm favourite!