They have a range of health benefits. You can even brew the leaves to use as a skin cleanser!
Immersed in the brilliant green of Ireland and dotted around the western Mediterranean, a plant called the strawberry trees groes and thrives. These trees produce a spherical fruit about the size of a cherry, with meaty yellow pulp and rough, bumpy skin. The fruit of the strawberry tree – mentioned in the Aeneid and previously grown for ornamental use – has countless health benefits. In Italy, strawberry trees are often found in Ancona in Le Marche. But to pick the fruit, you need to wait until they mature, which happens between October and December. You can even grow strawberry trees on a balcony or garden, as long as they have large, deep pots and a sunny, mild climate.
Strawberry trees are versatile: their flowers produce a slightly bitter honey, while their berries can be boiled and de-seeded to become the main ingredient for jams. They’re excellent for creating an array of desserts, like cream or jam tarts topped with goji berries. You can make a liqueur by fermenting the berries, and they can also be used to produce a type of vinegar. Just put a few berries (not too ripe) in a bottle with a liter of vinegar and a few bay leaves, and let the mixture sit for 3 weeks.
Did you know
The strawberry tree – which Italians also call a Garibaldi plant – was used as a symbol of the Italian flag in the past. This is down to its own 3 colors, from the white of the flowers to the red of the berries, and the green of the leaves.