This morning we went on a little hike to play gatherer: I love this part of France where I now live as we can just walk out the door and go pick up fruits and herbs in the wilderness. The most common one are herbs of course that you can find year-round: thyme, rosemary, savory, lavender.Blackberries have been filling our stomach for the past 2 month, I can’t wait for the Persimmons to be ripped in the next week or so, olives are starting to turn black and will be ready by early December.
What we found on our gathering hike today can only be picked once a year and is the berry of the Arbutus Unedo. What the hell is that? It’s also known as the Strawberry tree or Cane apple. It’s a small tree found in the Mediterranean region and oddly enough Ireland. It’s a small red skinned berry with orange insides. It’s best in jam or cooked as too much of its raw version is toxic. The roots, leaves and branches can be used on their own as medicines as they are anti-inflammatory and diuretic apprently. Anyway, you have wikipedia to help you out ont his part and to know more about the plant in general.
As we picked up 2 kilos of berries, I decided to make some jam with it.
- 2kg Arbutus
- 1kg sugar
- 200gr honey
- 2 lemons
- Clean the arbutus.
- In a mixing ball, top off the arbutus with sugar, honey and lemon juice. Stir gently so all the berries get covered in sugar/honey/lemon and let marinate for 24 hours.
- Transfer in a stew pan and cook for 45 minutes on medium heat. Stir regularly and keep an eye on it as it can turn into candy really fast.
- Sterilized your containers for the jam by pouring boiling water in them and on the cap.
- Once the jam have finished to cook, pour into the containers, close them and flip them over (so as much air as possible will be out) and wait until cold to store normally.