The lilly pilly (riberry) is one of the most popular plants in Australia today, particularly for hedging and topiary. Lilly pillies are evergreen rainforest plants with glossy green leaves. 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.
The fruit matures from December to February, being a pear shaped red berry, known as a Riberry, growing to 13 mm long, covering a single seed, 4 mm in diameter.
The tree commonly only reaches 7 metres in cultivation. The berry has a tart, cranberry-like flavor, that has a hint of cloves. It has been popular as a gourmet bushfood since the early 1980’s, and is commercially cultivated on a small-scale basis. The fruit is most commonly used to make a distinctively flavoured jam, and is also used in sauces, syrups and confectionery.
Riberry Caramel Sauce – combine 220gm brown sugar and 250ml water, stir to dissolve, bring to boil. Cook approx 6 mins until dark caramel. Add 60ml fish sauce. Toss in 100gm deseeded riberries. Spoon over braised pork belly and serve immediately.
Lillipilli Apple Crumble
Peel 12 apples and chop into small chunks.
Place in a saucepan with 60gm sugar and 250ml water. Cook 30 mins.
At the last minute add 100gm lillipillies (riberries). Stir and then transfer the mix to an oven dish.
Rub together a cup of flour and 2 Tbspns butter until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Mix in half cup each of brown sugar and rolled oats.
Pat the crumble over the lillipilli/apple
Bake at 180C oven for 25 minutes
500gm ripe red lillypillies (riberries)
4 ½ cups white sugar
½ cup of corn syrup
Wash and dry the lillypillies.
Place the fruit in a heavy based saucepan and just cover with water. Simmer very gently till they start to look transparent.
Drain, keeping back 1 cup of liquid. Put the lillypillies into a baking dish in a single layer.
Add the liquid to the saucepan again with ½ cup of the sugar and all the corn syrup.
Turn up heat and bring to the boil. Boil gently for 1 minute.
Pour over the lillypillies on the baking dish and leave in the fridge overnight.
The next day, pour the syrup back into a saucepan and add a further half-cup of the sugar. Heat it once again to dissolve the sugar heat to dissolve, bring to the boil, then pour over the fruit and leave overnight.
Repeat daily using ½ cup of the sugar each day until there is no sugar left and the syrup is really thick and syrupy.
On the last day, put the lillypillies into sterilised jars and pour the syrup over. Seal and store for at least 3 weeks before using.