Arbutus Unedo – Strawberry Tree Fruit

The fruit earned the name “strawberry tree fruit”  due to its strawberry-like appearance.

But on closer inspection these fruits are rounder and contain tiny bristle-like protrusions.

On its own, the flavor of this fruit’s orange flesh is like a bland peach. It has a sweetness, a slight sourness, and a soft yet sandy texture due to tiny seeds. But if the pulp is sieved, cooked, and prepared with sugar and lemon juice, it can be made into a delicious jam.

Arbutus unedo’s leaves have been employed in traditional and folk medicine in the form of a decoction having the following properties: astringent, diuretic, urinary anti-septic, antiseptic, intoxicant, rheumatism, tonic, and more recently, in the therapy of hypertension and diabetes.
The leaves are reported to have a high concentration of flavonol antioxidants, especially quercitin, best extracted with a decoction, and together with the fruits are a source of antioxidants.
The leaves also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Since strawberry tree fruits are highly perishable, you likely won’t find them at the market. They are  best used shortly after being picked. Large amounts of fructose can cause fruit to ferment on the tree, so eating too many overripe fruits can cause intoxication in humans and in animals. Under-ripe fruit should also be avoided, as it can cause nausea. A properly ripened fruit should be bright red in color and yield under gentle pressure without being too mushy.