Sometime during the end of summer, Sherry spent an industrious afternoon picking fruit from our strawberry tree. If you haven’t heard of strawberries growing on trees, we are not far ahead of you. We hadn’t either until we purchased our home, where two mature specimens adorned our back yard.
The tree grows to the size of a tall bush and the fruit — a prickly reddish orange ball the size of, well, a strawberry — dangles from the branches.
It is native to the Mediterranean region but can survive in most of Europe all the way to Ireland.
Its seeds are propagated by frugivorous birds, i.e. the species that prefer fruit.
The birds are on to something: the berries are delicious to eat fresh from the tree. Trying to describe the taste is difficult. It reminds me of the blathering on wine bottles, that “suggest hints” of this and that. The texture of this fruit is probably closer to a pear or soft apple than a strawberry.
Sherry’s harvest was deposited in our refrigerator and for the better part of two months, we’d forgotten about them. We were doing a bit of cleaning and Sherry remembered her cache. We assumed they’d be moldy by now, but she had picked them on the green side and to our delight, they were just now ripe.
Madrid’s “coat of arms” includes an image of El oso y el madroño, or The Bear and the Strawberry Tree
Our bread maker, a Zojirushi model, is capable of doing lots of things, including making jam. I looked up the recipe and it was quite simple: Fruit, sugar, lemon juice.
Having popped the ingredients into the machine and hit the button, I wondered: now what are we going to try this confection on?
So, I got busy and whipped up a batch of crackers, and the next day, English muffins.
Fresh strawberry tree jam on homemade crackers and English muffins
I used just half the sugar the recipe called for. The jam still came out quite sweet.
I have mentioned the recipe for the crackers before, which you can find here.
And I have written about the English muffin recipe, which you can find here.
*The headline is a reference to a quirky children’s book titled: “If You Give a Moose a Muffin,” that takes the reader on a preposterous series of cascading events, all instigated by the mere offering of the baked good to the giant, horned mammal. I highly recommend it.
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