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

You can imagine my surprise when, out shopping for fruit and vegetables, I noticed a small red fruit that looked similar to a lychee.

On asking what they were, the stall-holder told me they were mountain strawberries. As soon as I knew they were strawberries, I just had to have some. And I had to know more.

There isn’t an awful lot of information to be found but here’s what I discovered about them.

Mountain strawberries

Koca Yemiş - the mountain strawberries that grow on trees
Photograph courtesy of rove.me

This rare strawberry grows only in the mountains on trees.

The strawberry tree grows wild on the mountains in the Mediterranean region and is also native to Ireland, where is is known as the Killarney Tree.

Its scientific name is Arbutus unedo, and the Latin word “unedo” literally means “I eat only one”– either implying it’s so delicious one is enough or the struggle of only being able to eat one due to its ‘acquired taste’.

The Mountain strawberry (called Koca Yemiş or dağ çileği in Turkish) is a known winter fruit.

The tree blooms for almost the whole year except for in the winter when they bear fruit.

The fruit is sold in the street and at local markets mainly during November and December (I bought mine from the fruit stall next to Carrefour by the Otogar in Fethiye).

I ate mine with lashings of suzme yoghurt. Once you get used to the texture they are delightfully delicious. Have a try and see what you think.

Koca Yemiş - the mountain strawberries that grow on trees

Afiyet olsun

Sources: rove.me/Istanbul Ispired

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