Autumn olives (Elaeagnus umbellata) are an abundant, invasive berry here in the Northeast. It turns out they are highly nutritious, containing lots of lycopene, which is a strong antioxidant good for joint health, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer treatment. Lycopene is a phytochemical, and it is in the red pigment of many foods like tomatoes, watermelons, and pink grapefruits. Autumn olives contain fantastic amounts of lycopene, some studies stating 17 times the amount of raw tomatoes. Here is a quick read from the USDA and Utah State University on their lycopene findings.
jelly and dressing, they make great fruit leather and wine, and the ripe berries freeze well. The berries are tart and astringent straight from the bush, but the flavor improves with the advancing of the autumn season and with a frost. While we had a rather poor harvest in 2012 probably due to a dry summer, we did manage to find enough to experiment with. Here is a recipe for ketchup using the red pulp of the autumn olive berries. I don't add any preservatives, so this is a small batch that should be kept in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
Autumn Olive Ketchup makes about 1/2 cup
3 c. raw autumn olives
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp raw sugar
1/4 tsp allspice
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1. Add the raw autumn olives to a saucepan with 2 Tbsp water. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring, until the berries have burst. Press the pulp through a fine sieve to remove the seeds and small stems. You will end up with about 1 cup of puree.
2. Cook the puree for 5 minutes over medium heat, until the color darkens.
3. Place the puree in a blender with the vinegar, salt, sugar, allspice, and crushed garlic, and pulse a few times to smooth out the puree.
4. Return the ketchup to the saucepan and cook over low heat to reduce further. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until it is thick like ketchup. Taste and adjust the salt.