While being one of Australias most well known, catalogued and utilised native Australian Ingredients, it's taken us almost 5 years to work with the Quandong - despite being well aware of them. A member of the Santalum family - better known as Sandalwood - quandongs are colloquially known as the desert peach or the wild peach, growing in arid and semi-arid conditions across the country. Highly sought after by many indigenous groups as the trees began to bear fruit, the flesh being sweet and juicy whilst high in vitamin C like many native ingredients, but its kernel or nut was more commonly harvested to craft a paste that was used to cure skin ailments.
Wild Quandongs via Mallee Native Plants.
Over the years quandongs have become one of the more widely farmed and cultivated native ingredients, due to its ability to yield a large quantity of fruit when in season, its tendency to flourish in dry conditions with minimal irrigation, leading the flesh to be most commonly used in preserves and jams - quandong pie is somewhat of a cult classic in Australia, a native twist on English mince pies. While the fresh quandongs are only really available in spring, dried quandongs are wildly available all year round, and can be reconstituted with a splash of water.
Whilst the flavour is potent in the flesh and work incredibly well in cooking, in distillation quandongs fruit qualities do not carry through to the final spirit as well as we'd like it to, but we have a trick up our sleeve with post maceration. Adding dried quandongs into the final distilled product to impart the wonderous peach flavours into our base distillate, only filtering before bottling and adding a touch of sugar - a nod to old tom and sloe gins. A unique gin for Applewood to celebrate one of our iconic indigenous ingredients.