Kousa Dogwood Fro-Yo

It's amazing when you realize that something right in front of your face is edible, and maybe even tasty, and you never even thought to eat it.  We humans are so dumb sometimes.

Here in the neighborhoods of Seattle, we have different varieties of dogwood, including this one called a Kousa Dogwood, originally from Japan.  The tree develops huge, juicy, tempting fruit at the end of the summer and into fall, and wouldn't you know it - it's edible AND delicious, and no one even eats it!  No one that I know of, anyway.

The skin is somewhat bitter and each fruit has a few seeds inside, but these bad boys are so big and juicy that you can work around those slight pitfalls and still get a good bit of meat.  When ripe, the fruit is a bit squishy to the touch, with a deeper pink skin and a yellow hue on the inside.  Mark took a bite and said it reminded him of Custard Apple (Cherimoya) in India.  I've never had cherimoya, but it reminded me in texture of a mango, and in taste of a melon of some kind.

Top: Kousa dogwood tree / Lower: Kousa guts

Top: Kousa dogwood tree / Lower: Kousa guts

I tried and tried to think of a unique way to use these in a savory recipe, but that's a tricky proposition - in order to get the fruit out of the skin and away from the seeds, it turns to complete mush.  This rules out a lot of possibilities, but I'll keep testing some things out for a potential future post.  For now, I decided to stick with something sweet, based on the melon-y taste.  The prep time for this took a while, but the ingredients are simple and there is no cooking required.

Kousa Dogwood Frozen Yogurt

Recipe Type: Dessert | Author: Edible Terrain
Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 1-2 hours in freezer | Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 cup Kousa dogwood fruit (about two quart-sized baggies full of fresh fruit)
  • 1/2 cup plain, whole milk yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
  • 4 teaspoons powdered sugar
  • lemon zest (about 1/2 a lemon)
  • fresh mint leaves (about 4-6 leaves), finely chopped

1. Prep the fruit.  Remove stems and gently cut in half.  Remove seeds and use a small spoon to scoop the fruit out.  After, mash the pulp with a fork to check for hidden seeds.

The process, starting at top left and moving counter-clockwise: Remove stems, cut in half, remove seeds, scoop out fruit, discard skin, drink cider, repeat.

The process, starting at top left and moving counter-clockwise: Remove stems, cut in half, remove seeds, scoop out fruit, discard skin, drink cider, repeat.

2. Combine fruit mash with remaining ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  The fruit should be fully mashed by now, so a food processor is not required - but feel free to use one if it's easier for you.

3. Cover the bowl and place in freezer for 1-2 hours, checking occasionally for the correct consistency.  Note: if the mixture remains too long in the freezer (for example, overnight), it will get pretty solid.  It can be defrosted by setting back in the refrigerator or lightly microwaving and remixing.

4. Serve and enjoy!