The fruit of Rosenbergiodendron formosum has a pulp that’s so jam-like in its consistency that some people actually spread it over bread. The flowering bush is native to Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador, but is not commonly used as a food source. It’s most popular as an ornamental shrub due to its attractive fruits and ability to be formed into a bonsai tree.
The fruits are small and round, with a hard, yellow shell. The pulp inside is a sharp contrast to its exterior: a black, sticky goop with small seeds mixed in. To get to the pulp inside, it’s best to carefully cut the shell open with a knife, as using your fingers can lead to a sticky situation. You then either suck the insides out or dip the knife into one of the halves and use it like you would jam.
The appearance and texture of the pulp is without a doubt similar to blackberry jam. However, although many retailers of the fruit will promote it as also tasting like the spread, this is likely just clever marketing. The flavor is in fact far more interesting and complex. It is sweet, floral, and slightly bitter, with notes of honey and molasses.
Need to Know
Unfortunately, these fruits are not easy to find even in their native regions. They are most commonly grown as ornamental shrubs, so the best way to try them is to find someone who has them in their garden or try growing them yourself. For the more adventurous, you can also try foraging them. Just be sure to wait until fruits are bright yellow before picking.