Lilly Pillys are probably my favourite australian native tree. Usually fast growing, they are attractive to birds and bees, the flowers are beautiful, and now I’ve discovered that the berries make the most delicious cordial. Not that I actually drink cordial … but I can tell you that on a hot night, a slurp of chilled Lilly Pilly Cordial and a sprig of bruised mint in a glass of dry sparkling wine is a wonderful thing. And I’m sure this still counts as “bush tucker” !!
This batch of cordial was made from Cascade Lilly Pilly berries. The Cascade being a cross between two stars of the lilly pilly world – the Powerderpuff (syzygium willsonii) and the Riberry (syzygium luehmannii). I planted both Cascade and Powderpuffs when I moved in, so the next batch will come from one of the many un-identified and slightly tarter lilly pillys growing at the back of the property.
Lilly Pilly Cordial
Just double or triple the ingredients according to how many berries you have
I had only a cupful and this made up approximately 650 mls of cordial
1 cup of lilly pilly fruit – rinsed to remove bugs and twigs
2 cups water
½ teaspoon tartaric acid
1 cup sugar & the juice of 1 lemon
Sterilise an empty clear wine bottle by filling it with boiling water in your sink. Leave it for a few minutes then empty and put in the oven on a low heat to dry. Use mitts of course!!
Meanwhile put all the ingredients into a saucepan and boil for about 5 minutes. The colour will gradually seep out of the berries and into the liquid turning it a delicate pink.
Remove from the heat and spoon the fruit into a strong sieve over a mixing bowl. Mash the berries gently with a wooden spoon, removing the seeds with a fork as they pop out. Continue mashing until you force all the paste through the sieve. Then pour the hot liquid through the sieve and into the bowl to remove the last of the paste.
Take the bottle from the oven (mitts again) and pour in the hot liquid using a funnel. Seal and turn upside down for a few seconds. Allow to cool. As there are no preservatives (other than sugar) in the cordial, it should be kept in the fridge. You can make a “virgin” cocktail by adding fizzy lemonade instead of champagne.