What better wild food plant to highlight for Valentine’s than Toyon berries! Their luscious red berries are just screaming to be noticed. It’s the middle of winter and there they are yelling, “Look at me, look at me.” They’re the wildly flirtatious side of Valentine’s that I think of.
Toyon berries are edible raw, but not very palatable. Pick the berries from their stems and wash well. Place onto a cookie sheet and place into a preheated oven at 250°. It takes roughly 1/2 to one hour for them to dry roast at this temperature. Be sure to turn the berries in the pan occasionally. You want them to have some give between your fingers, so that they are a bit chewy, but not enough moisture that they will mold when you store them.
These heart cakes were covered with roasted Toyon berries. I put the roasted berries into a small cast iron skillet with some honey and a splash of Kirsch. Kirsch is a cherry liqueur which compliments the apple/cherry flavor of the Toyon.