Ode to the Brazilian Cherry

When Kim and I married many years ago , our dear friend the late poet, musician, witchy woman, and counter-cultural icon Gilli Smyth (aka ‘Shakti Yoni’ from the bands Gong, and Mother Gong) gave us a small Brazilian Cherry tree in a pot as a wedding gift. That tree travelled with us from Northern NSW to Queensland, through several rental properties, and was finally planted in the ground when we bought our 9 acres of land in Greenbank in 2000. Being in dry schlerophyll forest, and with a limited water supply, the tree didn’t do very well, though we did manage to keep it alive. When we sold the property in 2018 we weren’t sure if it would survive being dug up, so we reluctantly left it behind.

The beautiful Gilli Smyth, fondly remembered.

After this we viewed many, many properties, looking for our new home on the Moreton Bay islands. The place we eventually settled on had TWO healthy and established Brazilian Cherry trees in its garden, and these trees certainly made us feel the place was made for us. The property also had three very old, scented heritage rose bushes, one a spectacular pink/apricot David Austin that flowers prolifically.

Last weekend I decided to have a go at making Brazilian Cherry and Rose Petal Jam, with great success. Simple recipe: 1 kg of fruit, 1 kg of brown sugar, and the flesh of an apple just in case the cherries didn’t contain much pectin. The result was marvellous: sweet, tart, and with a slight flavour of ginger. Making food from things that already grow in your yard is always gratifying, and cooking itself is centering and relaxing – especially so in trying times such as those we’re living through right now.

When in doubt, or distress … make jam!

When we eat the cherry jam now we’ll always think of dear Gilli, and of her wise and powerful circle casting on the eve of our wedding, a ritual that we believe has solidified our relationship and brought us so many blessings. Always loved, always remembered.

The raw ingredients
The finished product, perfectly set!

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