A Fruit Tree with Edible Stalks
If you like growing unusual fruit trees, you may want to consider growing a Japanese Raisin (Hovenia dulcis) tree. The actual fruit produced by the tree is small (only about a ½ inch), hard, dry, brown and inedible. But the tree produces a multitude of edible fruit peduncles that swell up and turn reddish brown when “ripe.” Only measuring about a ¼ of an inch, their taste is often compared to a crunch raisin or a crunchy raisin with a pear like taste. The “raisin” can be snacked on fresh off the tree or dried for later consumption. The trees produce a copious amount of “raisins.”
In South Korea, Japanese raisins are often incorporated into beverages and sold as a hangover cure. The Japanese raisins contain dihydromyricetin, a compound that helps breakdown alcohol in the liver. Although a few studies have been conducted on rats, the use of Japanese raisins as a hangover cure currently lacks sufficient human scientific studies regarding its effectiveness for this purpose.
Hardy down to USDA zone 6, the Japanese raisin tree is a self-fertile deciduous tree. It grows from thirty to eighty feet tall. It grows best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. And although it grows in a wide variety of well-draining soils, it grows best in sandy loam. It prefers a soil pH of 6.0 – 7.8.
Trees begin to blossom after three to four years, but it can take up to ten years for the tree to begin producing ripe peduncles, or “raisins.”
Photo by Mauroguanandi, CC BY 2.0