The Djarduk Apple is a member of the Lilly Pilly family which grows in the understory of open forests and woodlands. When they are ripe, the large bright red apples fall to the ground and are collected shortly after. The sweet, juicy fruit is a favourite among locals who often enjoy them fresh, and occasionally wrap them in paperbark and roast them in a fire.
They can be found from the sea country to the stone country, and depending on their proximity to either salt or freshwater, their taste varies from sweeter to sharper and sourer.
The possibilities are endless in modern cuisine, and Djarduk has been adopted by Melbourne Attica’s Chef Ben Shewry where it is used as a sorbet.
They are harvested in the build-up to the wet season, generally when the humidity starts to rise in October up until the rain comes in December.
Local Maningrida people never harvest the last fruits on the trees – this is a cultural lesson taught by the old people.
In our culture, much of our world belongs to one of two halves or moieties: Duwa and Yirridjdja. This includes all human beings, ancestral beings, flora and fauna, natural phenomenon, sites and land – it’s all connected together.
Djarduk Apples are classified under this system as Yirridjdja.
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We can’t run for this one – not allowed to run and rush. Our old people taught us not to rush. Just gotta walk. Don’t grab it. Gently, not rough. You gotta show respect. It’s how my old people taught me.
Nathaniel Malawinga Wilson