19 February 2017
A couple of years ago, on the way home from the beach, I tripped over a runner of pigface stretching across the track back to the car. I picked it up and saw some tiny roots poking out, so I carried it home with me and popped it out in the backyard, beside the herb garden. I didn't expect it to grow, but grow it did, and it completely covered a large grassy patch quite quickly. It grew in heavy clay soil, in the shade and continues to cover as much of the garden as we let it. We use it for bee stings and burns, in the same way you'd use aloe vera, so it's spot near the back door is quite practical.
This year, the pig face patch grew dozens of beautiful bright magenta flowers, which the bees adored. These turned into amazing looking red fruit… and so we made jam.
We referred to this recipe, but made a few minor changes, so here's our version…
1. Collect and peel 2 cups of pig face fruit pulp. The red fleshy skin peels away from the inside ball of pulp quite easily.
2. Place it in a saucepan with 1 cup of sugar and 3 cups of water.
3. Cut a lemon in half, squeeze it a bit and throw it in, peel and all.
4. Bring to a boil while sterilising a jar or two.
5. Simmer and test the jam until it has thickened to a suitable jammy consistency - ours became really stretchy which is quite unlike any jam I've ever seen before!
6. Strain the jam if you like (we didn't).
7. Pour or ladle it into jars.
The jam is an interesting dark colour, but the flavour is amazing! Pigface fruit taste sweet and salty, with hints of strawberry and guava. The jam is all of that but sweeter… Delicious on sourdough with a little butter.
The entire plant is useful and edible. Leaves can be used in salads and wherever you might enjoy juicy and salty hints of flavour. Our chooks seem to enjoy a nibble, too! If you happen to trip over a little pig face on your way home from the beach, I'd highly recommend plonking it in your garden somewhere and enjoying this readily available bush food. Or perhaps, while you're at the beach, indulge in a little foraging? It's well worth the effort.
~ Lauren. xx