Forestberry

A relatively new spice in Western cooking with a sweet berry flavor. Used with fruit and in baking.

The forestberry tree is also known as strawberry gum plant. The tree leaves, rich in essential oils, are the part used in cooking and for perfumery.

Facts

Forestberry grows in Western Australia. It is considered bushtucker. Bush tucker or bush food are the foods used by the bushmen, the native Australians - and only made it to Australia Western style cooking in the late 1800s. It is a relatively new spice in Europe or America.

How to Identify forestberry

The forestberry tree, also know as strawberry gum, is a type of eucalyptus that grows in Western Australia. The tree has long, grey, oval shaped leaves –leaves are broader when young and new growth has a purple color- and it can reach 30 feet (10 m) in height, it has smooth branches; ivory to cream colored flowers produce wooden seed capsules.

The tree leaves, rich in essential oils, are the part used in cooking and for perfumery.

How to use and store

Leaves are used, fresh or dried, although forestberry is usually available in stores ground, as a pale green powder. Store, as with most spices, in a cool, dark place and use within six months. Ground forestberry can be frozen.

Forestberry has a sweet flavor reminding of passion fruit and berries with a hint of spices such as cumin and caraway. It enhances naturally the flavor of other fruits. Add a pinch of ground forestberry to fruit salads or prepared tropical and stone fruits. It adds extra fruit notes to ice creams, sauces, creamy dressings or fruit sauces and compotes.

How to grow

The forestberry tree grows in temperate to sub-tropical conditions. It likes the sun and a well drained soil. It is rare in the wild. When grown in backyards, regular pruning is recommended to control height and foliage and this pruning help to harvest the leaves –used for cooking and perfumes.

Cooking with forestberry

There are many ways to add forestberry to your dishes. It goes well in baked good and fruit salads. Try to make forestberry flavored salad dressings.

Forestberry flavored cake

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground forestberry
1 cup heavy cream (or whipping cream, 30%+ fat)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C).
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
  3. Whisk cream and sugar. Beat eggs and add, one by one, together with a tablespoon of flour each time.
  4. Fold in remaining flour.
  5. Transfer it to buttered baking pan.
  6. Bake in middle shelf for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

eucalyptus olida (myrtaceae) - forestberry herb, olida, strawberry gum, strawberry tree.