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The fruit of the Strawberry tree is distinguished by its globular shape and rough-textured skin that is candy apple red and about 3/4 inch in diameter when ripe. Unlike ground strawberries, which wear their seeds on their skin, the Strawberry tree fruit contains seeds within its flesh. The flesh is white to golden in color with a soft jelly-like consistency. The Strawberry fruit replicates flavors reminiscent of apricots and guavas with subtle woody undertones, a characteristic evident of many wild shrub fruits. On a foraging note, unripe Strawberry tree fruit can cause nausea while overripe fruit ferments on the branch and can cause mild intoxication.
The Strawberry tree can be found in bloom during the winter with fruits ripening from summer into early fall.
The Strawberry tree is a common name for Arbutus unedo, an evergreen shrub within the Ericaceae family. The Strawberry tree's aesthetic beauty resides in its blend of green foliage with aromatic white flowers and red fruits decorating the bush year round. The aesthetic elements of the plant are also its forageable value. The leaves and fruits are used within the pharmaceutical industry. When blossoming, the Strawberry tree is a heavily resourced plant by bees for honey production and in addition to being a foraged edible, the fruits serve as food for birds. The bark of the tree is used as a dye and for working leather because it contains high levels of tannins.
The fruits of the Strawberry tree are rich in vitamin C.
Wherever berries are called within a recipe, Strawberry tree fruit can be utilized in preparations both sweet and savory, raw and cooked. They can be eaten fresh out of hand whole, sliced, pureed, cooked down into a compote or syrup, glaze, jams, jellies, added to pies and converted into wine and spirits. They can also be utilized for ice creams, gelatos, granitas, sorbets and cocktails. Complimentary pairings include, vanilla, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, watermelon, cream, yogurt, ginger, brown sugar, chiles, bacon, cheeses such as blue cheese, feta and chevre, basil, mint, lemon verbena, fennel and lavender.
In Portugal, the fruits of the Strawberry tree are made into Aguardente de Medronho, a traditional country wine. Also the honey from Strawberry Trees, commonly known as "bitter honey" (as it has a bittersweet flavor profile) is produced in southern Portugal and Sardinia.
The Strawberry tree is native to western Europe, France, Ireland and the Mediterranean region. It has been widely naturalized throughout the coastal Mediterranean, Northern Africa and the Americas. Though it continues to grow wild, it is also cultivated simply for ornamental purposes.
Recipes that include Strawberry Tree. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Eat the Weeds||Strawberry Tree Jam|
Someone spotted Strawberry Tree using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
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Near Sebastopol, California, United States
About 535 days ago, 9/07/15
Spotter's comments : Foraged Strawberry Tree spotted at sebastapol.