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Strawberry Tree Jam (Corbezzolo Jam)

Glass of Strawberry Tree Jam with berries around them

Today, we are making something special: Strawberry tree jam. It is delightful and will surprise you with unexpected flavors. I harvested these strawberry tree berries during a stay in Sardinia, and the resulting jam captured the Mediterranean flavors so well. This recipe is a perfect way to use these precious little fruits. 

What are Strawberry Trees? 

The strawberry tree is a fascinating plant, also known as “Arbutus Unedo”. They can be found across the Mediterranean in Europe, into Eastern Europe, and, to my surprise, in Ireland. Its popularity in Ireland has given the Strawberry tree the name “Irish Strawberry Tree”, or “Cane Apple”. These strawberry trees are different from the Pacific Strawberry Tree “Arbutus Menziesii”, which shouldn’t be used for making this jam. While the strawberry tree isn’t too popular internationally, it has high local esteem. It is named the national tree of Italy due to its green leaves, white flowers, and red berries. Also, it crowns the flag of Madrid. 

Strawberry tree with ripe berries and flowers in Sardinia

Let’s clear one misconception: The fruit of the strawberry tree does not taste like strawberry. But that’s no problem. It is delicious in other ways. The name is a bit misleading and it’s all about the expectation. I found it to taste most like something in between a ripe banana and a peach. Sometimes, I could taste a hint of strawberry in there, but that might be a bias due to its name. Some people report mild nausea from eating the fruit raw, especially if unripe. 

The fruits are tasty. Aside from their unique flavor, their texture is fascinating. They have rough, thick skin and tiny seeds, which makes chewing them an experience. During my stay in Italy, I enjoyed snacking the ripe fruits while hiking. Sadly, the fruits are hard to transport, making them a local delicacy. So, what better way than to preserve their flavor by making a delicious strawberry tree jam? 

Ingredients for making Strawberry Tree Jam: 

Ingredients Corbezzolo Jam (a deep pan with strawberry tree berries, brown sugar, and a sliced lemon) beautifully garnished on a wooden table
  • Strawberry Tree Berries (Corbezzolo) 
  • Brown sugar 
  • Lemon Juice

The star of the dish is, of course, the Corbezzolo, as they are called in Italy. Aside from this, I find brown sugar to complement their flavor well. The fruits are high in Pectin, so the jam will turn out nice without using any special preserving sugar. Lastly, you will need some lemon juice. While this recipe leaves room for customization, this simple three-ingredient strawberry tree jam is all I ever wanted! 

Strawberry Tree Jam Recipe:

Making delicious strawberry tree jam is quite simple. Most of the work is harvesting these delicate fruits. Strawberry tree berries need to be ripe to make this jam. You will need a lot of fresh berries, as they consist mostly of thick skin and seeds. I like to pass this strawberry tree jam through a sieve for the best consistency, which reduces the yield quite significantly. 

Pan with cooked strawberry tree berries on a wooden table

Firstly, wash the strawberry tree berries thoroughly. Add the fruits to a pot or pan, and cover with 110ml (½ cup) of water. Bring the fruit to a simmer. Once cooked, the fruit will fall apart easily. I like breaking them down using a spatula. Add the sugar and lemon Juice, and cook the jam for about 20 minutes while stirring to avoid sticking. 

Strained strawberry tree jam in a pot in a sunny garden

Next, pass the jam through a sieve. This step is a bit of work, but it is worth it. The smooth texture is the way to go for this jam. The color of the strawberry tree jam is just stunning.

Once strained, do a wrinkle test to check if the jam is ready. Add a small amount onto a cold plate and allow it to cool. If the jam wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it’s ready. Heat the jam again before filling it into your sterilized jars. 

Canning the Strawberry Tree Jam: 

Reserve about 1.5 cm (¾ inch) of space in the jars. Seal them and place the closed jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Afterward, let them cool to room temperature. 

Variations to this Recipe: 

Two slices of bread with strawberry tree jam on a wooden jam

This strawberry tree jam recipe is already delicious as it is. If you like to add some twist to it, I could see a few potential additions working particularly well: 

  • Orange zest
  • Vanilla 
  • A spoonful of dark rum
  • Cinnamon
  • Star anis 

I’d recommend taking it slow with introducing spices or other flavors to this jam so you don’t overpower the delicious flavor of the strawberry tree berries. 

But that’s all I got for today! I hope you enjoyed this special little recipe. Cooking with local ingredients like the strawberry tree is one of the best things ever. In general, exploring new ingredients never gets boring. I hope you liked this strawberry tree recipe! 

 Some more Recipe Inspirations: 

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Glass of Strawberry Tree Jam with berries around them

Strawberry Tree Jam (Corbezzolo Jam)

Strawberry tree jam is a true delicacy. This jam is the perfect recipe to preserve the delicate flavor of the berries. 

  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 1 small jar 1x

Ingredients

Scale

450g strawberry tree

1 small lemon

75g brown sugar

Instructions

Wash the strawberry tree berries thoroughly. Add the fruits to a pot or pan, and cover  with 110ml (½ cup) of water. Bring them to a simmer. Break the fruits down using a spatula. Add the sugar and lemon Juice, and cook the jam for about 20 minutes.

Next, pass the jam through a sieve.

Do a wrinkle test to check if the jam is ready. Add a small amount onto a cold plate and allow it to cool. If the jam wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it is ready.

Heat the jam again before filling it into your sterilized jars. Reserve about 1.5 cm (¾ inch) of space in  the jars. Seal them, and place them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Carefully take them out of the hot water, and let them cool to room temperature.

  • Author: Ivo
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Jam
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Corbezzolo, Strawberry Tree Jam,

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