Monday, October 08, 2007

Autumn Olive Jam

I went down in to the field yesterday afternoon to gather autumn olive berries. The drought has taken a toll on the ones in my front yard. Many bushes are sporting a pale red berry that doesn't look like it would taste very good. While searching I spied a HUGE wasps nest tucked in the branches of a red cedar. I've never seen a nest this big. The diameter at its top was between 15 and 18 inches and it was nearly 2 feet long. But I digress.

The Autumn Olive Elaeagnus Umbellata is really not an olive at all but a bright red berry that ripens the first week in October. It is an invasive species here and I figure what better way to combat an invasive species than by eating their seed. It has the ability to fix airborne nitrogen in its roots and so has an unfair advantage when dealing with native plants in low nitrogen habitats. And recent studies have shown that these little berries ounce for ounce pack 17 times as much lycopene as tomatoes.

So I gathered the requisite 8 cups of berries and followed my carefully worked out recipe from last year. The only difference is that 8 cups of berries this year only yielded 4 cups of pulp. But I carried on as if it were 5 cups anyway and it tastes pretty good.


Blondie ~ Vintage Primitives said...

Good Morning,
will have to look this one up to see if it is in my landscape. Have never heard of it. Lovely berries.
i, too, long for rain . . .

El said...

You turned me on to these lovelies last year (and I thank you again, Leslie). We still have lots of jam, but my mom and brother went out and picked some for their own jam stashes two weeks ago... Yum! Love wild things.