European Cornel or Cornelian Cherry

Cornus mas

preview hoep 00007 cornus mas echte kornelkirscheThe Cornelian Cherry is a wood with an impressive history and has been valued since ancient times as a valuable timber. According to a report by the Greek writer Pausanias the Trojan horse, which Odysseus and its companions got out of, in order to conquer Troja, was built of this wood. Even the famous bow of Odysseus, which only he could draw and the best javelins at that time were made from this wood. But the cultural and historical evidence on the use of the plant go quite far back. In lake dwellings of the Stone and Bronze Age in Italy and Austria large quantities of Cornelian cherry kernels could be found. Apparently, the fruits of this wood were an important part of people’s nourishment in those times.

For children - and of course for us adults - the ripe (!) fruit is still a pleasant, tart-tasting wild fruit that can be eaten raw. For jam making, the cornelian cherries are mixed with low-acid fruits like melons, pears and apples. They are also suitable as an accompaniment to game dishes especially when applying a sweet and sour taste and marinating the meat in wine-vinegar.