Illawarra Plums are a delicious Australian native bush tucker fruit from the east coast of NSW, first collected for study at Lake Illawarra in 1818 [1], though Indigenous Australians have been eating it for thousands of years. It is also called Daalgaal, Plum Pine and a few other names. The scientific name is podocarpus elatus. They have been shown to have an extremely high antioxidant content, even higher than that found in blueberries [2].

Illawarra Plum fruit is used by Headlands Distilling Co. to make Daalgaal gin, by steeping gin in the fruit for six months. The fruit is also delicious in a jam or chutney, check out the recipe below:


Illawarra Plums, external seed removed- 1000 g

Sugar- 750 g, white sugar, caster sugar, brown sugar, it doesn’t matter.

Lemon Juice – 5 tablespoons


1) Blend the Illawarra Plums into a paste. Chop them up super finely if you don’t have a blender.

2) Add all the ingredients into a saucepan and start gently heating

3) Keep stirring everything so it doesn’t burn, mashing it up while you stir

4) Turn the heat up to medium and keep stirring until all the sugar has dissolved

5) Bring the mixture to a boil and hold it there for 15 minutes

6) Put a plate into the fridge and get it cold

7) Take a small scoop of the boiling jam and drop it onto the cold plate

8) Once it has cooled down on the plate, poke the jam on the plate with your finger. If it is properly set, it will gel up and slightly coagulate when you poke it. If it is still runny, boil for another few minutes and try again. There is variability here, because it will depend on the water content of the Illawarra Plums

9) Once the jam is setting properly, pour it into a sterilised jar and store in a cool dry place. Refrigerate it once you’ve opened it. Alternatively, just place it in any jar and eat it quickly!

If you can’t find any Illawarra Plums locally, stop by the distillery! We are often giving away the “spent” Illawarra Plums which have been used to make our Australian gins for free. While a lot of the flavour has been removed during the steeping process, there is definitely lots left and they still make an excellent jam. We eat jam made from the “spent” Illawarra Plums on toast most mornings!


Ways to use Illawarra Plum Jam:

1) Served alongside cheese

Thouoght you had a very fancy cheese platter? Adding an Australian native bush tucker jam will elevate it to the next level!

2) Scones and jam

A classic! You can pretend to be posh at high tea, using fancy words and sipping nice teas.

3) Pancakes

Spread a thin layer on pancakes, or even use on crepes. If using crepes you can roll it up.

4) Epic grilled cheese

Illawarra Plum jam, melted cheese, golden toasted bread, its an epic match!

5) Ice cream

Transform your vanilla icecream into a unique Australian east coast delight

6) Toast


7) Shake into a cocktail

When you get to the bottom of the jar and can’t be bothered scraping any more out, put in two shots of gin, vodka or whisky and shake! Pour into a glass and garnish with a citrus peel.

8) Bush tucker yoghurt

Spoon some of the jam into a cup, top with plain yoghurt. You now have a fruit bottom yoghurt cup!


9) Enjoy with a handcrafted spirit

While having your perfect cheese platter, don’t forget to sip a native Daalgaal gin and tonic, or Spirit of the Illawarra Plum + Prosecco!

  • Daalgaal Australian Native Illawarra Plum Gin

    Daalgaal Gin

  • A bottle of the Liqueur of the Illawarra Plum made by Headlands Distilling Co.

    Headlands – Liqueur of the Illawarra Plum

  • A bottle of Tidal Lines Illawarra Plum Infused Gin made by Headlands Distilling Co.

    Headlands – Tidal Lines – Illawarra Plum Infused Gin



[1] Mellick, R., Lowe, A., & Rossetto, M. (2013). Consequences of long- and short-term fragmentation on the genetic diversity and differentiation of a late successional rainforest conifer. Australian Journal of Botany, 59(4), 351. doi:10.1071/bt10291

[2] Symonds, E. L., Konczak, I., & Fenech, M. (2012). The Australian fruit Illawarra plum (Podocarpus elatus Endl., Podocarpaceae) inhibits telomerase, increases histone deacetylase activity and decreases proliferation of colon cancer cells. British Journal of Nutrition, 109(12), 2117–2125. doi:10.1017/s0007114512004333

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