Lilly Pilly Jam: A Berry Superfood Preserve (No Pectin)

Lilly Pilly Jam (No Pectin)

If you have Lilly Pillys in your garden, the best thing to make is Lilly Pilly Jam! This native Australian fruit is full of vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium and potassium and makes a wonderful jam. And lilly pillys are naturally high in pectin so you won't need to add any!

Lilly Pilly are a native tree to Australia and Papua New Guinea. They have a white flower that turns into small berries There are around 60 varieties of Lilly Pilly in Australia and they are all edible although some taste better than others. The Lilly Pilly that we grow in our garden are a light pink colour called Syzygium Cascade. I've also seen bright pink ones and dark almost purple lilly pillys. While you can eat them as is, they can be a bit tart so making them in a jam is a great way to use up this berry superfood!

Lilly Pilly Jam (No Pectin)

5 Tips for Making Lilly Pilly Jam

1 - Lilly Pillys have the flavour of a sweet-tart apple or cranberry but in a small berry. They have a small peppercorn sized seed in them which you can eat but I prefer eating them without the seed.

Lilly Pilly Jam (No Pectin)

2 - Preparing the Lilly Pillys by removing the seed is the most time consuming part of this jam. So while 300g or 10.6ozs of fruit isn't much, I promise you'll be glad that you don't have to deseed more! ;)

3 - Lilly Pillys don't contain much liquid so for this jam you'll have to add water.

4 - Lilly Pillys are high in pectin so you won't need to add any pectin.

5 - I don't mind the natural taste of Lilly Pillies but I MUCH prefer them jammed with lots of lemon zest, vanilla and lemon juice. I made a batch without these using just sugar and lilly pillies and honestly I didn't love it. But my batch with lemon and vanilla was delicious!

Lilly Pilly Jam (No Pectin)

I loved this jam so much that I asked Mr NQN if I could have more lilly pillys but he told me that that was all we had in our garden. I have to be honest, if I were to ever buy a house again I wouldn't buy one with such an extensive garden. It's impressive what Mr NQN grows in the garden but honestly the garden is wild.

My cleaner Fernanda caught me looking out at it one day and shook her head and said, "I don't know how you cope with it," and I had to answer her that it has become an area I simply don't venture into. Mr NQN does all of the gardening and it's a huge job because he works hard from Monday to Friday. While he likes gardening, his weekends are taken up by it and sports and dinners and it's just a lot. If I were to buy a house again all I want is a square of lawn and a border of unkillable succulents and plants and a herb garden. I have no idea what he grows out there.

I came back from lunch with a friend and he said, "I picked some lilly pillys for you, they're in the fridge." "We have lilly pillys?" I said surprised as he has never mentioned them ever. The other day he came in with some sweet potato and beetroot. I'm just thankful that one of us can venture out into the wild garden to get whatever is growing out there. Although apparently we also have a blue tongue lizard out there that scared the crap out of him one day when he thought it was a snake!

So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever tried Lilly Pillys? Are you the gardener in your house?

Lilly Pilly Jam

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Makes: 400g/14oz jar

  • 2 cups/300g/10.6ozs lilly pilly fruit
  • 150g/5ozs white sugar
  • 1/2 cup/120ml/4flozs water
  • 2 tablespoons/40ml/1.4flozs lemon juice
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Lilly Pilly Jam (No Pectin)

Step 1 - Place a metal plate in the freezer. Remove the seeds from the Lilly Pillys. You can just break the skin and flesh with your fingers as it will be soft. Remove the small seed (around the size of a peppercorn). Place the fruit with the sugar, water and lemon juice into a small heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Place the lid on and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until berries are soft.

Lilly Pilly Jam (No Pectin)

Step 2 - Place a teaspoonful of the liquid onto the frozen plate and run the spoon through it. If the line stays, the jam is ready. I usually heat a glass jamming jar in the oven for 10 minutes at 180C/350F. When it is ready and still hot take the jar out of the oven and pour in the hot jam into the hot jar (if the jam is cold the glass may crack and vice versa) leaving 1cm/1/2 an inch space on top. Using a tea towel, screw on the lid and turn the jars upside down and cool.

Lilly Pilly Jam (No Pectin)

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