02/01/2012 by Katrina
When we first built our home, we wanted to plant something along our back fence that would be fast growing, have a lovely green colour and give nice coverage. Fast forward a few years and I’m sitting here wishing I had planted fruit trees instead of Lilly Pillies. I now want something we could ‘use’ by eating part of it (always thinking of food).
Up until recently I had absolutely no idea that people can actually eat the berries off Aussie Compact Lilly Pillies. My husband found this awesome piece of information off his dad just the other day during their phone conversation.
Aussie Compact Lilly Pillies are typically rainforest trees that are not commonly grown for their fruit. The berries come out in Spring/Summer and their colour ranges from light pink to dark red. Pick one off the tree to taste before you harvest the lot so you can check for ripeness, which equals sweetness. Lilly Pilly berries tend to be more tart in taste than sweet like your usual berry kind (think strawberries), but they are refreshing and have a lovely crisp, crunch!
Did you know: Native Aborigines traditionally used Lilly Pilly for its great healing and anti bacterial properties and ate the berries when in season for the vitamin C content. The Lilly Pilly has good astringent properties that improve firmness of the skin, while its high vitamin C and fruit acid content create great anti-ageing effects to keep skin looking radiant and youthful (from New Directions Australia).
I wanted to make some Lilly Pilly jam in my Thermomix, but have yet to play around with the honey as an alternative to the bucket load of sugar I would need to add to the fruit, so I figured with it being summer the fruit would be lovely in a simple fruit salad as a Bush Tucker Breaky.
Serve your Lilly Pilly berries (once you take the big seed out) with nectarines, mango, blueberries, strawberries, creamy dollops of Greek yogurt (my fav is Chris’ Greek Yogurt), drizzled with raw honey.
If you don’t have any Cascade Lilly Pillies in your yard, check out the local park or hit the pavement in search for a tree around the streets. Most people don’t realize you can eat the berries, and they will just go to waste by dropping on the ground.