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Friday, June 17, 2011

The Lilli Pilli Hedge

Lilli Pilli is the name of both the native berry and tree that inhabits the rainforests of Queensland and New South Wales.  They were one of the first edible plants noted during Captain Cooks visit to Australia in 1770.  They have a tart/spicy taste and I think they are not dissimilar to cranberries.

The fruits of the many different species can be as small as blueberries or as large as cherries. The colour of the fruit can range from white through soft pink to red or pale lilac. The flowers are usually small, white and fluffy.

The berries are a favourite food of many native Australian animals and birds.  They are grown in many Australian gardens as a hedge plant.  The berry juice stains very easily so it is best not to plant them near a light colour driveway or pavement.

We have a Lilli Pilli hedge which separates the driveway from our front garden.  It does not bear a lot of fruit but I managed to pick about 1 kg of the berries and made some Lilli Pilli Chutney and a Vinegar infused with Lilli Pillies.  For those of you not in Australia, you may like to try this with cranberries or other readily available tart tasting berries.

Lilli Pilli Chutney
Deseed 1/2 kg of lilli pillies.  Place in a saucepan along with juice of 4 oranges, zest of 1 orange, 1/2 cup honey, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 5 whole cloves, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon allspice and 1 peeled and chopped green apple.  Cook until the fruit softens and the liquid becomes a more "sticky" consistency.  Pour into sterilised jars and refridgerate until ready to use.

Vinegar infused with Lilli Pillies
Sterilise a bottle, half fill with deseeded lilli pillies.  Top up with white vinegar and place in a dark cupboard until the lilli pillies stain the vinegar pink.  Gives a nice spiciness to your vinegar for salad dressings.

Himself has been busily taking photos of some of the items that we have been cooking/collecting and very soon (I promise) I will attempt to put a photo gallery on this site.  I don't want to insert photos into the text of each post as I find that when I am reading a blog with a recipe that I want to print the photo content can extend a simple 1 page recipe over several pages.  That in my opinion is a waste of paper, so maybe a photo gallery will allow those of you who have asked for photos to take a look at them.  Hope that is ok (and hope that I can do it)!

Next week I am planning to bring you some recipes using some of the citrus fruits that are now becoming very abundant in Australia (and our garden) at the moment.

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