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The Chilean Guava, Known As The Murtilla

The Chilean guava is a wild berry that grows in the southern part of Chile. The Chileans call them Murtillas or Murta which means little myrtle or evergreen scrub. The technical name is Ugni molinae and the Mapuche indigenous community call them Uñi.

The Murtilla grows during the months of autumn, which is here in Chile during March and May. Although it is related to the guava, really it has no relation at all to this fruit. It grows on a scrub that has glossy dark green leaves and releases a spicy scent in they are crushed. The scrub grows a white or pale pink flower with four or five petals.

They have a special strong strawberry flavour and I would describe it with a scent of cinnamon flavour. It’s a very special flavour. The Chileans have a few uses for it. One of the uses is to make jam, which turn out really good. Another use is to make it into liqueur. This is very popular here in Chile although it’s not seen for sale. Most people make in their home for their own families and drink it on special occasions. They call it Licor de Murtilla and it’s made with sugar, aguardiente and obviously Murtillas.

Another use they give to the Murtilla is a Chilean desert they call Murtilla con Membrillo en Conserva which is a desert that they mix murtillas with quinces and they conserve them in jars. They usually make a lot so they have for the rest of the year. This is a very good and healthy desert, so if you get the chance I would advise you to try it.

So if you’re in Chile around March and you’re walking around the town and see some stands selling Murtillas, by a half a kilo to try them because they taste very special. Or if you’re at a restaurant and hear they offer for desert Murtilla con Membrillo en Conserva try it, you won’t regret it.

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