Thursday, December 02, 2010

Strawberry Tree Jam

My mother has two Strawberry Trees (Arbutus Unedo) in her backyard in the Bay Area of California. They are beautiful evergreen trees with a bell-shaped flower than produces bright red berries - thus the nickname "Strawberry Tree."
Several members of our family met at my mother's home for Thanksgiving week. As we were discussing this tree one day we asked my mother if the berries were edible. She didn't know, so an iPhone was produced and we discovered that, indeed, the berry from a Strawberry Tree is considered edible.
Although the consensus on the Internet was not entirely positively as to whether the fruit tasted good, being the adventurous type my son and I popped a few. We loved them!
The consistency is much the same as an ordinary strawberry. Although the outside of the fruit is red in color, the inside has a beautiful peach tint.
When tasting something for the first time, one has a tendency to try to make a comparison to another familiar taste in order to isolate the flavor. We decided the fruit from a Strawberry Tree is a cross between a strawberry, peach, nectarine, and mango. In other words it has a taste all its own! 
There were several references on the Internet to jam that can be produced from this fruit, but there was no recipe to be found. We decided to roll up our sleeves and try our hand at it! Because the consistency of the Strawberry Tree fruit was much the same as a strawberry, we just decided to use a strawberry jam recipe found on the pectin package to make our jam! The result was fabulous!
The only negative characteristic of this jam is that it is slightly gritty when eaten alone. The outside peel of the fruit is a little course, so that makes the jam a teeny bit "granular" when one tastes it by itself. However, when the jam is spread on bread that "granular" quality completely disappears with the fibers of the bread and it is absolutely delicious! The color of the jam is a beautiful peach color with little flecks of red from the outer peel. So pretty!
So here's the moral of this story... I wouldn't try to make jam out of any old shrub you find in your yard, but if you happen to have a Strawberry Tree in your garden don't let those little berries go to waste! ;o)

8 comments:

Tara@JustDevineStyle said...

how fun! What a great adventure you had. I have never seen a tree like this before. I just made jam for the first time this year and it was so yummy. This looks fabulous.

Tina said...

I have never heard of such a tree, but am so pleased your jam worked out so well. I love the colour of it:) Enjoy ~ Tina xx

Maryam said...

I want to taste! Sounds great! Put a little spoon-ful on a cracker and come on over ha

Melissa said...

A fun adventure...I love to try knew stuff like your Strawberry Tea fruit...

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

I saw my first strawberry tree on Thanksgiving Day, while at Longwood Gardens. Now I see another one :-) By the way my husband noted that it appeared as though someone had picked a berry or two from the strawberry tree that we saw.

Mia said...

I love that you checked it out to see if it was edible then proceeded to make some jam out of it. You guys are so much fun!

Jackee said...

You are so fun and adventurous! How exciting to have a new fruit to enjoy.

Renee said...

I've never heard of a strawberry tree, how cool is that?!