Dogwood and its berries are a useful remedy for skin problems and fever. Let’s discover all its properties and uses in the kitchen.
Dogwood is a shrub belonging to the Cornaceae family and is characterized by its red or yellow berries, very similar to cherries. This plant grows spontaneously on the Italian territory, particularly in pre-mountain areas. Its fruits have a sour taste and normally ripen between August and September, although the tree only blooms in spring. Let’s find out what its properties are and how it can be used in the kitchen.
Dogwood: properties and benefits
Dogwood is a plant that hides many properties, some present in the bark and others only in the berries. These can be eaten raw, but only by preparing drinks or other products will it be possible to make the most of the nutrients they contain. In fact, in addition to carotene and tannins, the berries of this plant are a good source of antioxidants and vitamin C , much more abundant than in citrus fruits.
But the most important properties of dogwood certainly remain the antimicrobial and anti-infective ones. This is why the plant is used to treat respiratory and joint problems and, according to recent studies, is particularly effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
From the bark of the shrub it is possible to produce an extract capable of relieving flu, fever and dysentery. In addition, dogwood, thanks to its astringent and purifying properties, also offers benefits to the skin. So much so that it is often used as an anti-wrinkle , scrub or, when combined with aloe vera, as a hair pack.
Dogwood: uses in cooking
The fruits of the dogwood and the bark of the shrub can also have different uses in the kitchen. In fact, from the berries it is possible to obtain juices and jams, very rich in vitamins and sugars, which can be used as a snack or to accompany cheese and meat. For example, to prepare the jam just wash and clean a kilo of dogwood berries and three apples, and add:
-1/2 kilo of sugar
-a glass of rum
Boil the fruit until it is soft then pass it through a sieve and add the sugar and lemon zest. Lower the heat and let the mixture thicken while continuing to mix gently. The cooking will be completed when the preparation no longer slips from the ladle. Now you can add the liqueur and pour into the jars.
If, on the other hand, ripe berries are available, a grappa can be distilled, perfect as a digestive . To make it you need a liter of alcohol at 90 °, a kilo of ripe cornelian, 400 grams of sugar and the peel of a lemon. Wash and dry the fruits well, place them in a jar and cover them with alcohol, leaving them to macerate for two weeks.
In a saucepan, prepare a syrup with water, sugar, lemon zest and bring to a boil. Now you can add the syrup to the berries in the jar and, very important step, filter everything and close again. Let the mixture rest for at least two months, after which you will have produced an excellent dogwood liqueur.
Finally, if you want to take advantage of the aforementioned astringent properties of dogwood, you can eat the raw fruits or prepare an infusion . To do this, boil some water, add the berries and let them cook for a few minutes. Filter and consume hot.
Photo source: https://pixabay.com/en/photos/bacche-di-corniolo-corniolo-3873041/