Drenjula? What is that? If you’ve never been in Kuterevo it’s normal that you don’t know. But here, this is Drenjula is almost a way of life 😉
So, some explanations. “Drenjula” is the Croatian word to name the fruit from the European Cornel (Cornus Mas in Latin), a tree native to southern Europe and southwest Asia. I had never seen this tree before coming to Kuterevo (and even never heard about it!) but here it is everywhere! You can see this 2 to 6 meters tree all around the village and people use it in various purposes.
Thus, it is very common here to eat drenjula jam, dried drenjulas or to drink drenjula liquor, rakija and sirup. All of that is made from the small berry which has an acidic flavour when it is not cooked. This is not so good in this way (in my opinion, but some people love that!) but bears are very fond of these cherries.
The wood from this tree is very hard and shock resistant and was already used by Ancient Greek craftsmen to make spears, javelins and bows. The wood was so linked to the making of weapons that the name of the tree was used as a synonym for “spear” in poetry. But this wood can as well be used to make very good tool handles or ladder rungs. In the past, it was also employed to make sticks, handles of umbrellas… Moreover, the European Cornel is an excellent firewood.
The Drenjula tree was, in ancient times, also recognized as a medical plant with various properties. For instance, the bark, the shoots and the roots were used to treat fevers and the fruits to treat diarrhea, stomach aches, cramps…
As you can see, this small fruit is full of ressources 😉