Pick a peck of lilli pilli

Have you heard of the lilli pilli tree? Most Australians have. The lilli pilli is a native tree, often planted in gardens as a hedge, or as street trees. Their deep green foliage is quite attractive, particularly when combined with their pink-purple fruit.

Good news: you can eat them!

Lilli pilli

Lilli pilli

I’d heard that the fruit were edible, but never tried them until this year. My neighbour  shared some with us and we were hooked! They’re about the size of a cherry when ripe, and have a similar pip as well. The flesh however is more like an apple or fresh cranberry, almost crisp.

We’ve spent the month of April scoping our local streets and laneways to locate several accessible trees. Yesterday we found a tree so heavy with fruit that the pavement below was littered with pink splotches. It had some of the sweetest fruit we’ve sampled yet.

How do you eat it?

So far I’m pretty happy eating them raw, but they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. The early settlers made lilli pilli jam. We weren’t too impressed when we tried stewing them, or making tea with the fruit. Much more successful was a lilli-pilli and apple crumble. Best yet were blueberry muffins, substituting the blueberries for lilli-pilli. Om nom 🙂

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