It's that time of the year when all of the small leaved Lilli Pilli trees are packed full of tasty Riberries. These trees are planted sporadically over Sydney, either as a street tree or as an ornamental tree in gardens. Around Christmas the berries are in full swing and most people walk past the red velvety carpet of berries on the footpath without knowing anything about their nutritional benefits.
The fruit has a refreshingly tart, spicy flavour, somewhat reminiscent of cranberry with a hint of cloves and cinnamon. The healthier trees have high levels of isolates (essential oil components) such as myrcene (found in bay leaves), pinene (found in pine trees), limone (which occurs in most citrus, primarily lemon) and phellandrene (found in ginger).
We have spent the season picking the berries before they hit the ground so as we can flavour our gin and get some tasty syrups together for the party season.