Coastal Pigface Jam


I don’t know where to begin this tangent… because I have finally made Coastal Pigface Jam! Excited is an understatement.

That means I’m not just a mad coastal scientist / coastal advocate / dune obsessed / passionate beach goer, I can now add ‘native food forager’ and ‘jam maker’ to my LinkedIn.

Hope you are excited as me cause I have since researched more recipes and you can make chutney, syrups and even pickle it, etc.

If you didn’t already know Coastal Pigface is a prominent fore dune species that grows along the eastern seaboard of Australia and in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, let’s just say many coastlines where it’s sandy and salty (I’ve seen it grow out west (the countryside), across Europe and the US too). It is prominent for its pioneering attributes to vegetatively spread like a crawling juicy carpet across the dunes and in the meantime trap windblown sand to help build up the dunes and sustain the beach.

Yet its succulent sand catching abilities are not their only capabilities as it can also be eaten and used for medicinal purposes too.

The leaves can be eaten raw or either cooked like vegetables and are high in Vitamin C. They can also be used similarly to Aloe Vera to relieve inflammation, stings and burns.

The flowers and fruit can be eaten and are quite tasty! Commonly likened to a salty strawberry, fig or kiwi fruit, they can be eaten raw, chopped up and put in salads and even stir-fries. I’ve actually never eaten the skin of the fruit, will give it go next time. You can also make jam, chutney and pickles out of the fruit.

Here’s a recipe I made up based on strawberry jam and having picked 27 Coastal Pigface ‘berries’.

  • Wash the fruit under a tap.
  • Then place a paper towel on a plate and squeeze the fruit out of from the skin (geez I am bad at explaining this).
  • Place fruit in a saucepan and add sugar.
  • Squeeze one lemon into the saucepan.
  • Add enough water to bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Boil for a bit, maybe 5 or so minutes and then remove the saucepan from the heat and cool.
  • Taste test once cool.
  • Make some toast and then enjoy!

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What’s next for dunegirl?

Princess Spinifex (Dunegirl's dog)

Princess Spinifex (Dunegirl’s dog)

What’s next for dunegirl?

With a few hours left in the year of 2014 it seems that I am one of a billion or more quickly reflecting before thinking about 2015. What did I achieve this year? What didn’t I achieve this year? What surprises unfolded and what about that new years resolution list? Eek. So much to think about, so little time.

Time seems to be a common theme that stitches year to year (go figure). Although what I am getting at is that time is fast-ticking-away – away from away and where I am today, the 31st December 2014.

2014 has been a full one. 

  • Full of sweet surprises
  • Full of defining moments
  • Full of self-discovering changes

I am glad 2014 is drawing to a close as I am full and now ready to start again.

Before 2015 begins what can I say about 2014?

  • I certainly didn’t think that I would fall in love – seriously!
  • I certainly didn’t think that I would be studying an honours in beach happiness.
  • I certainly didn’t think that I would have studied at the United Nation’s University – what an honour!

But I did.

  • I certainly knew that I would have left the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management – at some stage…
  • I certainly knew that I would be speaking up for dunes.
  • I certainly knew that I would also dream of my beach utopia – almost every night.
  • I certainly knew that I end the year with a blog and a midnight kiss.

Life throws all sorts at you and I’m not referring to those delicious sugary sweets I shouldn’t have been eating over the Christmas break. I feel as if every moment in 2014 was a lucky prize – winning clean beach titles, running miles picking up beach litter, scoring the best car parks and baptising my soul in the sea.

O, and then there was that time in May when the community on the Gold Coast got together and planted 12,000 plants in one day to create a wetland, consistently stood up for what matters on the beach and connected with their neighbours, friends and loved ones to celebrate the coast.

So, what’s next for dunegirl?

  • A dune photography exhibition in early 2015
  • Create dune garden beds along the Broadwater Esplanade – so excited about this little cute project
  • Plant more trees on dunes
  • Submit my honours thesis and hopefully start the long awaited beach happiness PhD
  • Take more photos of dunes
  • Ensure clean, healthy and happy beaches are the number one agenda for Gold Coast’s beaches

Now that’s not a bad agenda for dunegirl. Happy New Year! See you on the dunes!

Not entirely visible to the untrained eye – my 100th post

Pyla Dune in France - Europe's largest dune and strategically capitalises on a huge dune tourism market.

Pyla Dune in France – Europe’s largest dune and strategically capitalises on a huge dune tourism market.

Google Alerts for all things coastal that I am interested in pop into my Gmail Inbox at 3pm everyday. I have become accustomed to deleting some of them, which I should probably change the relevancy. Though, the ‘dunes’ alert is a must read for me. I’ve been following many interesting stories about dunes for some time now – west coast of Africa sand dune mining, Cornwall Beach Christmas Tree/ Sand Building Project, east coast of the USA beach restoration after Hurricane Sandy and the other day… dune awareness and issues along the Bay of Bengal. 

I am delighted to share the dune awareness and issues along the Bay of Bengal story with you – as it is my 100th post! It really is a must read. For instance, I immediately imagined myself being the woman who jumped to action and stopped a tractor levelling out the dune. 

“There is this apocryphal story: a woman activist happened to spot a tractor levelling a mound on Elliot’s beach. Jumping into action, she climbed into the machine, pulled the ignition key out and flung it far into the Bay of Bengal. Turning to the stunned driver she said the “bump” he wanted to flatten was actually a sand-dune; it stopped seawater from entering the land. The mound has since survived.”

And then the scientists role to raise awareness of the importance of dunes – that they are not just mounds of sand with scrappy looking plants. I love how the article beautifully highlights how coastal control structures like seawalls and groynes interfere with natural coastal processes and then finishes with – “here, a range of hilly sand-dunes breaks the salty breeze to create an agricultural Eden on its landward side”. 

I seem to be a magnet for coastal management wherever I am. Everyone has a beach story and an idea to help the beach. Some are big and scary while others are simple and sensible! 

What this article clearly highlights is that dunes are important and most of the benefits to coastal settlements are not entirely visible to the untrained eye.