|Ugni shrubs are 3-15 feet tall.|
Berries are 1 cm in diameter.
Ugni (also known as Chilean guava or strawberry myrtle) is an evergreen shrub native to Chile, Argentina, Central America, and southern Mexico. The ugniberry is quite edible and tastes like a spicy strawberry. It is often used as a replacement for strawberry flavoring in processed foods.
There are ten species of this shrub. In New Zealand it is called "New Zealand Cranberry," and in Australia, "Tazziberry," however neither are native to the region. The shrub is smaller than the taller South American version.
|Juan Ignacio Molina|
Ugnifruit was then introduced to England in 1844 and became a favorite fruit of Queen Victoria. It was also enjoyed as an ornamental plant, prized for its flowers and evergreen foilage. The ugni flower is quite beautiful with its drooping pale pink petals.
Today the fruit is used on a rather small scale in New Zealand, Australia....and Chile, where traditional Matador liqueur is made. The fruit is also used to make jams, cakes, and other desserts, and eaten fresh or added to salads.
The popularity of this berry is growing. Some claim it has five times the taste of a blueberry, so home gardeners are beginning to plant this shrub more, as it does well in most soils. The only catch is probably the climate. Ugni shrubs thrive best in a subtropical, temperate climate, although they can handle light frost and withstand some dry conditions. I would love to see a variety that could be grown in the Pacific Northwest, east of Washington's Cascade range where I live.
Do you grow this shrub? Do you eat the berries?
|Cake with ugniberries|
"Ugniberry Oatmeal Muffins"
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ugniberries
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
--In medium bowl, mix together oats and buttermilk. Let stand 5 minutes. Add oil, brown sugar, egg and mix.
--In second bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir flour mixture into batter and fold in berries. Grease muffin tins with vegetable oil.
--Fill tins 3/4 full and sprinkle tops with extra rolled oats. Bake 20-25 minutes, until centers are cooked. Remove from oven, cool ten minutes on rack, and remove from tins. Yield: 8 muffins.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugni; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Ignacio_Molina