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Unusual Fruits and Flowers, Part 2: Che Fruit

I remember what prompted me to order two che trees (male and female) - the following description: “Che fruit is an interesting and very productive Asian fruit tree related to Mulberry and Fig.” After reading this, my imagination ran wild and two che trees ended up in my shopping basket, promptly planted soon after. This was 4 years ago.

The trees really are robust and strong - they started to fruit on their third year in our orchard. Next year the harvest was plentiful.

As for the taste…well, very sweet, indeed, but also rather blunt. But with annoying small pits inside. And not flavorful at all. So it was a given they have to be processed.

I used child labor for fruits picking - my grandkids were visiting.

As for processing, I used couple of different recipes, all of them my own, as internet searches brought the only recommendation to juice the berries.

The winning recipe for che jam:

Make a sugar syrup (sugar weight to be about 1/3 of berries weight). Pour the boiling syrup over the berries. Boil the mixture on a low flame. Cool it, then bring to boil again, and keep simmering for some time. Repeat a couple times until berries are very soft.

Cool and press the berries through the sieve to remove pits. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into the mushy mass until the taste is to your liking.

Add a couple tablespoons of food grade rose water.

The result will surprise you - an aromatic, refreshing soft jam with the most beautiful color.

And - the benefit of digging deeper into internet searches - the recommendation is to REMOVE the male tree, which should remove the pits as well. We will do as recommended and hope to get the improved berries without pits.

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