Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it. And in many ways it is my journal of everyday life. If you click on the Index you can see my posts under various topic headings.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
Most recently I have been enjoying exploring other art genres, including Eco-printing with Australian leaves onto cloth and paper.
I hope you enjoy scrolling through my blog. To visit other pages, please click on the tabs above, or go to my Blog Archive on the side bar. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of any of my posts. I value your messages and look forward to hearing from you.If you like my work, and would like to buy a print, or commission me for some work, please go to my "contact me" tab.
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Sunday, 10 April 2016

How to make Lilly Pilly Jam - a delicious Australian bush tucker delight

When we moved to our current home about 20 years or so ago we found a Lilly Pilly bush in our front yard.  This is a plant native to the eastern states of Australia, but which grows well in the west too. It has very fleshy leaves and a very attractive small flower, which you can see below, but which withers almost immediately if picked.  The bees love them.

Following flowering a small red fruit forms, about the length of your thumbnail. We have tasted them from time to time over the years. They have a crisp flesh, not unpleasant taste, though slightly acid, and probably an acquired taste.  They have a small stone in the middle. You can see my bush and the fruit below here. 

The origin of the name Lilly Pilly is unknown. The first recorded sighting of a lilly pilly in Australia was Syzygium paniculatum. On May 3 1770 at Botany Bay botanist Joseph Banks stated in his journal: They "found also several trees which bore fruit of the Jambosa kind, much in colour and shape resembling cherries; of these they eat plentifully and brought home also abundance, which we eat with much pleasure tho they had little to recommend them but light acid."
From:  Australian Plants OnLine 

There are several varieties of Lilly Pilly, belonging to the  Myrtaceae family. 
The Lilly Pilly was a bush tucker for the Aboriginal inhabitants, and was prized by early European settlers for making jams and jellies.  It seems to have been used soon after the establishment of Sydney town in New South Wales. 

Jam making is a tradition in my family and I have been intending to make Lilly Pilly Jam ever since I discovered the plant in our front garden, and yesterday I did. My husband wanted to prune the bush as it had got quite big and was starting to develop a scale infestation as it had the previous year. So I picked about a kilo and a half of fruit and made the jam on Saturday morning. 

 The recipe I used came originally from the National Trust of Australia, New South Wales, and is in my Australia's Home Made Jams and Preserves Book compiled by sugar company CSR. I have used many recipes in this little book. 

The recipe was actually for jelly, but I adapted it to make jam. 

Lilly Pilly Jam 

Remove stalks and stones from the fruit and wash well. Place in the pan with a little water. I used 2 cups of water to 1.245kgs of fruit. Cook until fruit is tender (about an hour). I also added one lemon cut in half to the pan as the lemon will help with setting. 
When the fruit is tender add the same weight of sugar as the weight of fruit. 
Boil till jam sets when tested. This took about another hour, but will really depend on the quantity you are cooking. 
Remove the lemon halves, bottle the jam in sterile jars and seal immediately. 

The jam is a beautiful deep pink-red colour and I think tastes a little like a mix between plum and strawberry jam. Delicious! I made scones this morning so my family could taste the jam. They all enjoyed it, so I think I will from now on be making Lilly Pilly jam every year. 

Another reference to the Lilly Pilly can be found in May Gibb's children's book, The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, an Australian classic about the gum nut babies first published in 1918. I told you about the bad Banksia Men from the book a couple of weeks ago. Please click here if you missed it -  Celebration of the Australian Banksia

Here is an illustration from the book of the characters Lilly Pilly and Ragged Blossom. In the book Lilly Pilly is an actress.  You can see here below on the left with the lilly pilly fruit forming the skirt of her dress. 
For more about May Gibbs click here - May Gibbs

I hope you have enjoyed my blog post about the Lilly Pilly. If you are in Australia and you have it growing in your garden, I hope you will make some Lilly Pilly Jam. 
Is there a native fruit that you make into jam? Perhaps you would like to share with us in the comments.

Here are a couple of references on the web:
Burke's Back Yard
Australian Native Plants Society
Evergreen Growers - scale pest on Lilly Pilly
Taste Australia - Bush Food

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays

 Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
 Life Thru the Lens

Our World Tuesday
Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday

The Weekly Postcard

 You might also like - 
Quandongs, delicious Australian bush food
And slices of quince which they ate with a runcible spoon
Tamarillos, lost food of the Incas 


  1. Jill, this is beautiful timing as yesterday my neighbour was showing me her Lilly Pilly bush with fruit that she used to eat as a child. Not growing up in Australia, I did not know this pretty looking pink fruit, or until today, know that you could make it into jam! Such good timing to see your post... especially when the bounty is on the other side of the fence... I wonder if I can attract it to flower on my side!
    Wren x

    1. perhaps you should offer her the recipe, or ask if you can pick some fruit and give her a jar of jam in return.

  2. I would never have thought you could eat the berries off Lilly Pilly bushes, let alone make jam from them! I have learnt something new! My mum used to make fig jam (which I hated) and quince jelly when I was a little girl. We must have had fig and quince trees in our garden.

    1. I can't stand fig jam either, but quince I adore. I love trying different fruits. Lilly Pillies are a winner for me.

  3. The fruit looks like teeny tiny apples. The jam sound delicious!

  4. Okay the fruit is beautiful and the spread looks luscious but it is the name, Lilly Pilly that I adore.

    1. Absolutely! you can't help loving that name

  5. Great post Jill, can't say I've even seen a Lilly Pilly tree other than on Burke's Backyard. Great pics

  6. Hello Jill, the fruit looks like mini apples. I have never heard of Lilly Pilly, it is a cute name for the bush! The jam looks delicious. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

  7. I have never heard, or seen, a Lilly Pilly bush.... so interesting. Your jam looks so very tasty. I love being able to visit other parts of the world through blogs. It was fun visiting you today.

    Lisa @ Life Thru the Lens (www.lisakerner-slp.com)

    1. Thanks Lisa for stopping by. I've now linked up to Life Thru the Lens :)

  8. How cool! I wish we could grow them here!
    Thank you for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-many-faces-of-louie.html

  9. I absolutely adore this native plant of yours...a fabulous name, a stunning flower and wonderful fruit...perfection...and I bet the jam is yummy! Reminds me of our crab apples here.

    and LivingFromHappiness

  10. I have never heard of Lilly Pilly but such an adorable name and it looks like a delicious jam.

  11. I love your jam making pics - it all looks so homely and comforting and gorgeous. We had a lilly Pilly in Bunbury and the fruit made such a mess on the decking that I despaired sometimes. If only I knew then that we could have made jam. Silly me! Great post.

  12. I really like that first set of four images of the white blossoms. Very nicely captured. Have a blessed day.

  13. Lilly Pilly - I love that name! It's a delightful bush and edible fruit too - good for you!

  14. What a great way to use those fruits. I will like to try that jam!

  15. Interesting post,the flowers and berries are beautiful.
    Lovely photos!

  16. This was fun to read--I've never heard of the jam before. And your photos are beautiful.

  17. I would love this jam. I've eaten jams made from cedar bay cherries (NQ) and Quandong berries too. The scones and cream would seal the deal. Lovely. I made pineapple jam as part of our daughter's birthday present recently. I am interested in making jams, relishes and chutneys. In NQ, rosella jam and comquat jam are very popular. I've gone down the track of melon jams too - with additions like passionfruit, lime, ginger, orange - they make excellent Christmas gifts with a pretty material top. I love the way you set up the photo with the white table boards and lilly pillies.

    1. Jams and chutneys etc do make great Christmas presents - all the more special because they are home made. I have made comquat marmalade but I have never tasted rosella jam. Sounds delicious.

  18. Beautiful photos of your Lilly Pilly in all of its many shapes and forms, from the fragrant flower to the delicious jam. The fruit look like mini, red delicious apples - how cute!!

    Have a wonderful week, Jill, and thanks for this great post!


  19. I didn't know about lilly pilly fruit and jam, but now I do. I am imagining it to be a bit like rosella jam with the tartness of the fruit. You jam does look nice, and so do the scones.
    I loved Snugglepot and Cuddlepie as a kid!

  20. Has anyone had any success making jam with the fruit of Moreton Bay fig. It's delicious when deep purple to black straight off the tree. It'd just be nice to enjoy the flavour when not in season

  21. Thank you Jill. I was looking up to learn more about our Lilly Pilly which is swarming with wonderful bees, and discovered your jam recipe. Will have to try that when the berries arrive. Thank you!


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