|speckled, ripe berries|
The bush is spread by the seeds from the many berries, often consumed by birds. Autumn olive is a drought tolerant shrub that grows in full or partial sun in a variety of soil and moisture conditions along open woodlands, fields, grasslands, industrial areas, and disturbed areas. The bush has the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil and grow quickly, thereby shading out competition. Cutting the bush will not kill it, pulling up the seedlings is the only eco-friendly method of eradication.
When ripe, the berries can taste either very astringent, or pleasantly sweet. Kids love that puckeringly tart flavor, and it is slightly reminiscent of ripe tomatoes. We have been eating them for years, and the berries are a super wild food. They contain outstanding amounts of lycopene, which is good for your joints. We use the berries in several recipes, like jam, jelly, fruit leather, wine, and ketchup. The berries freeze really well, which is great since they are usually so abundant.
|Autumn olive ketchup|