Pickling these fruity native gems means they can be used months post their short season. 'Tis the season to be pickling...
Rebecca Sullivan

23 Dec 2016 - 6:21 PM  UPDATED 23 Dec 2016 - 6:23 PM
What are Lilly Pillies? 

There are many varieties of Lilly Pilly that come in shades varying from vibrant magenta to blue, right through to cherry red. Australia has around 48 species. The little tart fruit has hints of clove and granny smith apple and when eaten fresh are like a tiny burst of apple pie filling (before the sugar is added, of course). Eat them fresh, cooked, pickled or preserved. They can also be stored in the freezer, but will eventually loose their colour when thawed out or cooked. Aside from fresh in salads and deserts, I love them pickled so that I can use them for months post their short season. They do have tiny seeds in them but are edible and give some texture.

Pickled Lilly Pilly

Makes 4-6 250ml jars 


1kg Lilly Pilly (fresh is best but frozen and thawed on paper towel will work)

700ml Apple Cider Vinegar

200ml water

2 cinnamon quills

1 cup brown or white sugar

1/2 teaspoon Lemon Myrtle powder

1/2 teaspoon Anise Myrtle powder

1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon powder

8 cloves

8 cardamon pods, brusied

2 pinches salt



Begin by sterilising your jars. You can simply do this by washing them in hot soapy water then rinsing and placing open side up onto a tray in an oven set to 100.C. Keep your lids aside until later. Leave the jars in the oven until ready to fill. Into a small saucepan place all of the ingredients except for the Lilly Pilly. 


Slowly bring to the boil, stirring the sugar until fully dissolved before the temperature gets too hot. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes so the flavours can infuse. place the jar lids into a small saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and remove the jars from the oven with an oven mit. Place the fruit into the jars with some cinnamon and bay leaves as decorations in the jar intermittently. 

Fill the jar with the hot pickling liquid leaving about 1 cm headspace. Remove the lids one at a time from the boiling water and place onto some paper towel. Dry the lids thoroughly and place onto the jars tightly. If you are using the water bath method, finger tip tightly and process for ten minutes (not necessary but totally welcome). Store in a cool dark place for a month or two before eating and up to two years. The longer the better. Store in the fridge once open and they will loose their colour in the jar. 


Native Ingredients are available online from Something Wild, Warndu products available at Warndu

This article was put together with WARNDU: Australia's native food revolution. Rebecca Sullivan is a top cook, food curator, food writer, urban farmer, activist and one half of WARNDU.  @warndu 

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