Everything You Need To Know About Kawakawa And 4 Unique Ways To Use It
It does however prefer warmer weather. Kawakawa grows to about 6 metres high and it is instantly recognisable for its beautiful, rich green heart shaped leaves. This plant produces fruit in the summer and both the fruit and seeds are edible.
Why Does Kawakawa Have Holey Leaves?
If you’re a keen kawakawa forager or lover of plants you may have noticed that more often than not the leaves of this plant are covered in holes. These are made by the hungry caterpillars of the kawakawa looper moth (Cleora scriptaria). But don’t be deterred, when it comes to choosing leaves, opt for the holey ones! Research has shown that the chewed leaves have more active compounds, triggered and released by the caterpillars munching!
How Was This Plant Used Traditionally
Why Do We Use Kawakawa?
We use kawakawa because it is a powerful plant that supports the whole body. We are building on its traditional use and incorporating this versatile plant into our everyday and celebrating the many supportive actions this plant has. We celebrate kawakawa within our defence range to help support a healthy immune system as well as having it in our topical skin oil to support healthy skin and skin repair. Our Daily Boost Tonic contains kawakawa to add to this formula’s tonic and energy supporting action.
How To Harvest Kawakawa
When it comes to harvesting kawakawa it's important to choose the correct leaves. By taking the leaves with a spoon shape at the base of their stem, and not the leaves at the tip, you're giving the plant a much better chance to regenerate. As always, be respectful and only take what you need.
How To Dry Kawakawa
Drying your kawakawa is a great way to preserve it and in this form it can be used in a multitude of ways. When harvesting always be respectful and pick your kawakawa from trees that have abundant leaves, and don’t just pick from one tree. Remember that less is more and often you will get more than you need - so don’t feel the need to fill big containers.
Once you have picked the leaves, rinse them and pat dry. Place them on a fine mesh or a covered oven rack in a single layer out of direct sunlight. Then cover with a light material like muslin cloth. Make sure the room they are drying in is not humid or damp - you could run a dehumidifier in the room - or place them in a small dehydrator on the lowest setting. Flip the leaves to dry both sides. Once your kawakawa leaves are dry carefully crumble them into a glass jar that tightly seals and use when needed.
How To Make Kawakawa Tea
How To Use Kawakawa In Your Cooking
How To Use The Berries
There are many ways to use kawakawa berries. You can pickle the berries and use them in a salads, add them to your homemade chutney, eat them fresh, or make them into a tea. You could even use Johanna Knox’s recipe and make chocolate dipped kawakawa berries, a tasty summer treat! Do be aware that kawakawa has a numbing effect so don't eat too many. A very small amount goes a long way.