Food for free: Madroños from Sierra Bermeja

Un madroño from Sierra Bermeja
Un madroño from Sierra Bermeja

LIFE brings you surprises in all kinds of places.

And it’s safe to say I wasn’t expecting to find such a tasty treat 20km into a big mountain hike up the glorious Sierra Bermeja mountain behind Estepona.

I would have walked right past these strange looking berries, were it not for my keen-eyed friends, who spotted a young-looking tree precariously clinging to a steep embankment just off our path.

Weighing down its branches were clusters of bright red, voluptous fruits, that looked almost ready to pop-the madroño (or cane apple), a tree common to the Mediterranean.

Curiously, it is also found in  Ireland, not known for its balmy weather.

I was more than surprised when my friend put one into his mouth whole.

With a visible stubby, spiky skin, they did not look instantly edible.

But egged on to do the same, I realised they were soft to the touch- clearly, it was just a great attempt at disguise by mother nature.

I can’t say they were overly sweet but they did have the faint taste and consistency of a plum.

An  madroño or Arbutus unedo
An  madroño or Arbutus unedo



Apparently some have more luck- according to my friends they are ‘heavenly’ when perfectly ripe.

So what are you waiting for? Vaya y pruebe usted mismo! 🙂



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