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Koca Yemiş – the mountain strawberries that grow on trees

We’re all familiar with the garden variety strawberry. Whether you like them or not, you’d recognize one if you saw it.

Not so easily recognized is a rare type of strawberry that looks similar to lychee and only grows in the mountains – on a tree!

The Turks name this fruit Koca Yemiş or dağ çileği (Mountain strawberries)

Mountain strawberries (dağ çileği)

Wild strawberry trees are native to the mountains of the Mediterranean region and Ireland, where they are known as the Killarney Tree. They are found in bloom for almost the whole year, except winter time when they finally bear the unusual fruit.

Its scientific name is Arbutus unedo, and the Latin word “unedo” literally means “I eat only one”. This might imply it’s so delicious that one berry is enough to indulge oneself, or conversely—it could refer to its acquired taste that can’t be called sweet actually, but rather fig-like.

The fruit is sold in the street and at local markets mainly during November and December. Just make sure that you purchase the wild Mediterranean mountain strawberries, and not anything else. 

Try them with lashings of suzme yoghurt. 

Once you get used to the texture they are delicious. 

Koca Yemiş - the mountain strawberries that grow on trees

Afiyet olsun

Sources: rove.me/Istanbul Inspired

This article was first published on 5 November 2021

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