Free winterfruit!

In some places in Umbria you may encounter a plant which during the dark and cold wintermonths carries some very happy looking berries. The plant is called Corbezzolo or Ciliegio Marino, better known as strawberry plant in English. It is an evergreen and the berries take a long time to ripen hence there are flowers and fruits at the same time!  Whenever I encounter this plant I have to eat one of its fruits. The taste is very subtle, I’d say a bit tropical although there are people who find it mealy and insipid. The Latin name, arbutus unedo is said to come from what Pliny the Elder wrote about it. He didn’t think it a very worthy fruit, he could only eat one, ‘unum edo’. I’d say what do Romans know try one for yourself! You can make great jam out of it, bees make honey out of it  and I even read it is being used to make some fiery alcoholic beverage. It is quite hardy so if you are not in a to extreme climate you might be able to grow one for yourself.

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