I recently made lilly pilly jelly for the first time and it was absolutely delicious. And what was even better was that it was made from foraged fruit harvested for free from the roadside.
Syzygium, aka the Australian lilly pilly, is a beautiful evergreen tree. It has dense shiny foliage and is both drought and frost tolerant depending on the variety grown.
‘Many varieties have flushes of colourful new growth, ranging from brilliant pink to a red-brown. In spring to early summer most lilly pillies have fluffy white or greenish flowers followed by long lasting red, purple or whitish berries,’ Native Tastes of Australia.
The berries I came across when out on a bike ride were a luscious bright purple colour. Lilly pilly berries are called riberries.
This is a very simple recipe, yet requires overnight. So plan ahead for when you have have time at home to first boil the riberries, let them drip overnight and cook into jelly in the morning.
For the record, the term ‘jelly’ in this case means a clear jam.
The ingredient amounts are vague because it depends on how many riberries you can harvest.
- Quantity of lilly pillies (riberries)
- White sugar – one cup for each cup of riberry liquid
- 1 whole lemon, unsqueezed and cut in half
- Tartaric acid OR double the amount of Cream of Tartar*
When I was making this recipe I panicked a little the morning after because I realised I only had cream of tartar (left over from making playdough) and didn’t have any tartaric acid.
A quick search on the Googly and I found that if I used double the amount of cream of tartar to tartaric acid the recipe SHOULD work out okay. It was a tense time wondering if the jelly would reach setting point without the legit ingredient. Thankfully, it worked!
*1 teaspoon of tartaric acid OR 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar to each 6 cups of liquid.
Wash the fruit after removing the stalks and place in a pan with just enough water to cover the riberries.
Add the whole lemon and bring to the boil.
Boil until the fruit is soft and squishy.
The fruit will appear to lose some colour but don’t worry, it all ends up in the liquid!
Place a colander over a large bowl and line the colander with a jelly bag or muslin. (I use an off-cut of muslin doubled over, actually, it’s the same piece of muslin I use to strain my homemade yoghurt.)
Place the fruit and liquid in the muslin (in the colander) and allow the liquid to drain into the bowl below. DO NOT SQUEEZE.
Place the whole lot in the fridge and let it drip overnight.
In the morning remove the colander, muslin and fruit.
Measure the liquid as you pour it into a saucepan for cooking.
Add 1 cup of sugar for each cup of liquid, plus one teaspoon of tartaric acid OR 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar to each 6 cups of liquid.
Boil until the jelly reaches setting point, then pour the jelly into clean jars and seal when cool.
Please comment below with your favourite use for jam (mine is jam and whipped cream on fresh white bread!)