Lilly Pilly Cordial

Late last year I got a little bit excited by this.

I’ve loved food gardening and in particular fruit tree gardening for a while now but this little vid. got me excited about the possibility of using public space to feed our cities. Imagine if as hedges in a place like the University of Sydney died, espaliered fruit trees replaced them or if councils replaced the trees they put on the nature strip with hardy fruiters like quinces and apples.

Well a few days ago I was walking through Moore College and I noticed that the Lilly Pilly hedge that surrounds the grassed area was in fruit. I had heard somewhere that the fruit was edible so I took some home and went digging around for recipes. I settled on this one for Lilly Pilly Cordial.

We didn’t follow the recipe exactly so I’ve added my corrections below.

Lilly Pilly CordialLilly Pillies in a saucepan


2 cups of lilly pilly fruit
4 cups water
1 teaspoon tartaric acid
2 cups sugar & the juice of 2 lemons


Put everything into a saucepan that’ll fit it. Boil for about 5 minutes. This is great fun because the Lilly Pilly fruits go from bright pink to nearly white as the colour from their skin seeps out of them.

Remove from the heat and spoon the fruit into a small mixing bowl (you’ll get excited at this point because all the colour from the fruit has gone into the liquid and it’ll look like a clear pink syrup).

Mash the fruit with a potato masher. The seeds will pop out and the fruit will go a paste consistency.

Return it to the original mixture and rinse your mixing bowl. Then strain everything through a sieve back into the bowl, rolling a ladle around the sieve to get the mixture through. Rinse your saucepan. You’ll notice it’ll no longer be see-through, and will look more like cordial.

Return the liquid to the saucepan and return to heat.

Sterilise some bottles by pouring boiling water over them in your sink and then putting them in the oven to dry. Take them from the oven and immediately pour the cordial into the hot bottles, seal and turn upside-down.

This whole process only takes a 1/2 hour and I can attest that it tastes delicious. It’s not sickly sweet, nor is it bland. It tastes like it’d be delicious with a mint leaf dropped in (this is what I’m about to try just as soon as I finish here).

Apparently its shelf life isn’t very long (like all home made cordials it lasts a few weeks, longer if refrigerated). But if you want to make a really big batch it freezes just fine.

So there you have it. If you are one of my readers who knows where I live pop in and try some!



Filed under gardening

2 responses to “Lilly Pilly Cordial

  1. hannah speers

    Do you know what species/variety of Lilly pilly this hedge was???

    • steveboxwell

      I’m pretty sure the variety was “hot flush”. It has good colour (which is the best bit of the cordial).

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