Riberry is a pear-shaped fruit that bare a bright cherry red colour that eventually fades to pink when cooked. It is native to the sub-tropical areas in Queensland and New South Wales. For thousands of years, the Aboriginals on The East Coast relied on the riberry as a core food source.
This tiny bright-pink berry is sweet and sour, spicy and almost clove-like. So mighty, it is said to be ace at preventing or delaying diseases such as Alzheimer’s, autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes. Riberry also has high levels of folate, otherwise known as vitamin B12.
Riberries not only contain high amounts of antioxidants, but provide essential vitamins and minerals to fight against colds and keep the immune system healthy and strong.
◎ Common Name: Riberry, Small-leaved Lilly Pilly, Clove Lilli Pilli
◎ Scientific or Latin Name: Syzygium luehmannii
◎ Comparison: Spicy, cloves and cinnamon berry
◎ Seasonality: All year frozen & dried
◎ Region: Sub-tropical East Coast
◎ Taste Profile: Eaten raw, the gorgeous clusters of Riberres have a refreshing, spicy flavour, with a hint of clove and cinnamon. They have an aroma of sweet, spiced tea, with musk and bush honey touches.
◎ Types: Although there are some 50 different lillypilly varieties found in Australia, riberries – whose fruit is a little more pear-shaped than the rounder lillypilly – have the most to offer cooks.
- Three times the folate of a blueberry. Folate is needed for healthy growth and development and is essential for the healthy development of a baby during pregnancy.
- Rich in manganese and an important plant source of calcium.
- Contains high levels of anthocyanin, a potent antioxidant that is thought to improve cognitive function and protect against certain cancers, heart and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Aboriginal & Traditional
For thousands of years, Aboriginal people on the east coast, in the hinterland and rainforest regions relied upon Riberries as a core food source. The fruit was usually picked and gathered by women and children. While children thought of the berries as delicious sweet treats, adults commonly referred to them as “medicine berries”. Riberries provided essential vitamins and minerals to fight against colds and keep the immune system healthy and strong. The pulp was also used to treat ear infections.
The fruit has been reported to be one of the first fruits consumed as jam or cordials by early colonists of Australia. In fact, the riberry was one of the first edible plants to be noted during Captain Cook’s visit to Australia in 1770.
Western & Modern
The Riberry comes from the clove family and its unique flavour works beautifully in sauces, chutneys and jams and complements poultry, lamb, pork and gamey meats such as kangaroo. The fruit can also be used in salads, vegetable dishes and desserts, such as ice cream, yoghurt and cakes.
The subtle Riberry flavour works well with cheeses and can even be infused in vodka to create a magic cinnamon tasting cocktail! The fruit is used to make distinctively flavoured jams, sauces, syrups, glazes, confit, chutney, cakes, salad dressing and confectionery.
Like the davidson plum, riberries contain high amounts anthocyanins that combat cell damage, improve cognitive function, protect against cancers, heart and Alzheimer’s disease. Riberries provide an abundance of essential vitamins and minerals to fight against common colds and help to keep the immunity system strong and healthy.
Note: The term 'Bush Tucker' and 'Bush Food' are not Warndu's preferred terms for Australian Native Ingredients or Australian Botanicals.
Images: © Luisa Brimble