Lilly Pillies are a summer-flowering, winter-fruiting evergreen tree common to many Australian backyards as a hedging or ornamental tree. Their fruit can be made into a delicious jam or jelly that tastes like a combination of cranberries and strawberries.
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Directions Preparation:1hour30min › Cook:1hour30min › Extra time:12hours Other › Ready in:15hours
Wash and de-stalk the fruit making sure to remove any spoilt fruit, leaves and dried flowers.
Place the clean fruit into deep saucepan and just cover with water. For 750g of fruit 5 cups should be sufficient, but this may vary depending on the size of the berries or dimensions of the saucepan.
Bring the water to the boil and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the fruit loses most of its colour. At this stage the water will take on a pink colour and extract the flavour of the berries.
Lay a large square of muslin cloth or old tea towel in a large colander or sieve. Pour berries and liquid into the tea towel and collect the liquid into a large pot or saucepan beneath. Tie the top of the tea towel and suspend it above the pot overnight, allowing the liquid to slowly drip out. After all the remaining liquid has dripped out, discard the berries. Make sure not to squeeze the berries in the tea towel as this will make the resulting jelly cloudy.
Measure the liquid that was recovered from the berries and add equal parts of sugar; for example, if you recover 5 cups of liquid add 5 cups of sugar. Add the juice of the lemon to the liquid and heat the mixture over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to the boil and stop stirring. The surface may have a scum that can be scraped off during boiling.
Test for setting of the jelly by placing a teaspoon of liquid onto a plate that has been chilled in the freezer. Let the jelly sit for 1 minute on the plate, and then push the surface of the jelly with your finger. If the surface wrinkles and a definite gap can be drawn in the jelly, it is ready, otherwise continue boiling for 5 minutes and repeat this process.
If you are having trouble getting the jelly to set, it could be due to a number of naturally variable factors, including pectin levels in the fruit, natural acidity, or the amount of time the fruit is left to 'hang' overnight. If, after a number of attempts, you want to 'cheat', simply add pectin powder or jam setting, which can be found at most major supermarkets. Follow the instructions on the packet on how and when to add.
While the jelly is still boiling, wash your jam jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinse well and then fully submerse them in a saucepan of boiling water for 20 minutes. Remove the jars a few minutes before use so that they are still hot when bottling the jelly.
Pour the hot jelly liquid into the sterilised jars and seal. Store in a cool, dark place and refrigerate once opened.
My first effort was a bit cloudy, but I realised I'd squeezed the berries when they were straining. With the second attempt it worked a treat. A great flavour jam that we will definitely make next summer. - 28 Mar 2016