The fruit is in season from October to February in Australia.
They grow on an evergreen found in arid and semi-arid parts of Australia that grows 7 to 10 feet (2 to 3 metres) tall.
They are a bit tart. Some think the flavour reminds them of a combination of apricots and peaches; others think they taste a bit like rhubarb.
The kernels at the centre of some them have a flavour like almonds, and can be roasted and eaten, or pressed for oil. Some kernels, though, have a really unpleasant taste. This is because there are no specific cultivars yet (as of 2005.) Australian researchers since 1973 have been trying to standardize a cultivar that could produce consistent results. Some have bad-tasting kernels make some fruits bad tasting as well.
It is now against the law to pick wild ones in Australia, so they are now grown commercially on plantations. They are hard to cultivate, though, because the tree is actually a parasite, and lives off a host.
In Australia, Quandongs can be bought fresh or frozen.
Emus love the fruit.
Two other fruits are also called Quandong: the Blue Quandong (Elaeocarpus grandis) and the Bitter Quandong (Santulum murrayanum.) To differentiate them from the one this entry centres on, this one may be called “Desert Quandong.”
Blue Quandong (Silver Quandong, Brush Quandong, Blue fig, Coolan): The fruit is sour with no other taste;
Bitter Quandong (aka Ming): The fruit is red like that of Desert Quandong, but extremely bitter.
You can use Quandongs for jams and pies, or stew them in sugar, water and orange juice, and use as a fruit purée. Aboriginals would eat them raw or dry to preserve them, pitting them, and then rolling the fruit in balls.
High in vitamin C.
Quandongs shrinks to about ⅓ their volume when dried.
Freezes for up to 8 years without impairing flavour.
Native to Australia.