We have just picked many kilos of our Illawarra plums (Podocarpus elatus). The Illawarra Plum is a small plant indigenous to New South Wales and Queensland. It is also called a Brown Pine and has a false fruit which is a fleshy sweet stalk attached to a big stone which makes it easy to harvest the delicious fruit.
Research and testing into the fruit by the CSIRO and Food Science Australia as recently as 2013 (Published in the British Journal of Nutrition June 28) have proven that compared to the blueberry it has more than 3 times the antioxidant activity. The study is exciting because the plums were shown reduce the growth of colon cancer cells and could be very useful in cancer treatments. Other studies at the CSIRO in Adelaide are looking into the ability of the plums to slow the growth & replication of fat cells in our bodies to help with maintaining bodyweight. Add to this that the fruit tastes great fresh and is very juicy!
I plan to make some delicious savoury and sweet sauces to go with the meat and desserts we are planning for our regular monthly lunches here at Peppermint Ridge Farm. The plant is very easy to grow in Victoria as well and has proven to be beautiful garden addition with glossy green leaves and prolific fruit in winter.
So get going and plant some for yourselves. To get fruit you will need to plant both a male and female plant as they are dioecious. You can plant many females to the one male plant. our plum is about 4 metres tall after 8 years.
Recipes using Illawarra Plums:
- Jam – just use your favourite berry recipe and replace the berries with the Illawarra Plums.
- Pickling – the fruit can be pickled and used on platters and to preserve it for later use.
- Strawberry Gum and Port Poached Illawarra Plums – Place 4 Strawberry Gum leaves and 100gm Illawarra Plums in half cup Port, 1/4 cup water, half teaspoon cinnamon, 2 cloves and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a pot. Bring to boil and stir. Reduce heat, and simmer until plums are soft. Serve with Anise Myrtle ice cream/panna cotta, yoghurt or cream.
And here’s my favourite: an Illawarra Plum Sauce. Enjoy!
- 200g Illawarra plums
- 100g sugar
- 200ml water
- 10 chopped leaves or Mountain Pepper or 10 crushed berries or 1 red chilli, sliced
- 1 Tsp crushed garlic
- ½ onion, diced
- 1 Tsp brown sugar
- 3 Tbs macadamia nut oil
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- In a small saucepan, add plums, sugar and water.
- Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Pour into a blender and puree.
- For the sauce, heat macadamia oil in a pan, add diced onion, garlic and pepper/chilli.
- Saute until transparent, add plum puree and vinegar and allow mixture to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Press through sieve for a smooth sauce.