The Grocer: Lilly Pilly
With a name that’s almost as cute as the fruit it describes, the lilly pilly is a berry native to Australia and Southeast Asia.
Although the lilly pilly, or riberry plant, has come to be a popular species for hedges and topiary-growing purposes in Australian gardens, the berries and flowers of this evergreen also happen to make a delicious treat.
As the weather warms up, lilly pilly plants yield pretty-in-pink berries that are tart in flavour, much like a cranberry, and have become a commonly noshed bushfood in recent decades. Warm, subtropical regions – such as Brisbane – generate ideal growing conditions for the little pink spheres and the fluffy white flowers of the lilly pilly. The natural candies of the lilly pilly also attract birds to your garden – so if you’re planning on cooking with the fruit, be sure to pick them before any winged creatures beat you to it.
Commonly used in jams, sauces, syrups and confectionery, the berry can be squeezed to discard the small, hard seed inside before whipping up any gastronomic creations with the flesh.
You can add lilly pilly berries to homemade lemonade or your favourite apple crumble recipe, use them (and the flowers) to garnish a tart, make a sweet cordial, or try eating them fresh. Lilly pilly berries are available in some grocers and the lush green plants are available at most gardening stores and market stalls.
Image via Roar Sweetly.
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