Food is everywhere — you just need to know how to look. Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) is a tasty edible wild fruit that ripens late in the fall. The abundance of fruit, which is readily dispersed by birds, is key to the success of this species. If the drainage is good, it's a really tough plant. The fruit leather and jam in my opinion is top quality and taste, just as good if not better then common flavors like grape and strawberry. So you may want to amend with compost, worm castings, bat guano, or other nitrogen-rich organic materials, and consider planting a leguminous cover crop like peas to ideally crowd out and replace the autumnberry seedlings, while fixing nitrogen for future successions of plants. Here is my recipe for autumn olive berry jam. I’ve been taking a Permaculture Design Course for many weeks now and one of the many topics which have really inspired me has been the Zone 2 Orchard and Food Forest unit. pea-sized berries ripening to red in fall, coated with a characteristic silver glittery sheen. Because it is an invasive, non-native plant, autumn olive is an ecological problem here in North America. The ripe berries are very tart and sweet. Rosemary: A fragrant blessing in herby disguise, Partridge Berry, a Nutritious Trailside Treat, Wild Mint, Fragrant Leaves and Digestive Aid, Pineapple Weed, Edible Flowers with a Fruity Flavoring, Common Mallow, a Wild Edible Often Found in Lawns, Bugleweed, Wild Edible and Alternative Herbal Remedy, Peppergrass, Abundant and with a Delicious Peppered Flavor, Wild Lettuce, Tasty Greens and Valued Herbal Remedies, - Foraging Tours, Classes and Groups Near You, - Wild Edible Tea Index, and Preparation Methods, Partridge Berry, a Nutritious Trailside Treat, Black Walnut, Grandiose and Medicinally Valuable, Cow Parsnip, Crisp Greens and a Surprisingly Aromatic Herb, Jerusalem Artichoke, Bold Flowers and Flavorful Tubers, Honey Locust, Menacing Thorns Protecting a Sweet Treat, Ash, a Wild Edible with a Threatened Future, Cleavers Bedstraw, an Edible Weed with a Diverse History, Wild Strawberry, an Age-Old and Fruitful Favorite, Fireweed, Love it or Hate it, a Bold and Versatile Herb, Persimmons, Succulent and Sweet Winter Fruits, Chufa (Nut Grass), Sweet, Nutty and Nutritious Tubers, Hazelnuts, A Wild Favorite for Many Foragers, Foraging Tours and Classes in South Dakota, Foraging Tours and Classes in North Dakota, Day Flower, A Dainty and Overlooked Wild Edible, Spring Beauty, Dainty Flowers and a Tasty Potato Alternative, Ox-eye daisy, Simple Beauty with Edible Leaves and Flowers, Foraging Tours and Classes in Mississippi, Thistle, Nutritious and Beautiful on the Inside, Foraging Tours and Classes in South Carolina. Sorry for the delay in response. LIKED YOUR ARTICLE ON AUTUMN OLIVE, I AM DOING A PROJECT ON INVASIVE SPECIES FOR MY ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE CLASS. Sure. Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) shrubs are a common sight along Massachusetts roads and at the edges of clearings and fields. Autumn Olive is loaded with vitamins and minerals including sugars, proteins, Vitamins A, C, and E, flavanoids, and others. These reserves are then used for regrowth in the autumn and after each cut. Autumn Olives, Autumnberries, or Eleagnus umbellata are one of my favorite trail treats when it comes to fall here in Michigan. There is a wide variety of species you might consider working with: serviceberries, brambleberries, and elderberries would be happy to take over here, as would currants, gooseberries, or even a cultivated, non-invasive species of Elaeagnus if you like the berries but want to be a responsible land manger. Like many invasive species, the autumnberry outcompetes its native peers by leafing out just a little earlier and staying green just a little longer than everybody else. There are 2 key ID features to look for. Or you might try throwing a heavy duty trash bag (consider the thicker “contractor’s bags” found at home improvement stores to avoid tearing) over the branches and then shaking or whacking with a stick to release the berries. More and more are harvesting these tasty fruits for both sweet and savory dishes. In a large saucepan crush the berries very lightly with a wooden spoon or potato masher. You will most likely need a good hand saw to cut the woody stems down to ground level, but if you’re dealing with more than a few individuals you’re better off with a chainsaw, or with a friend who knows how to wield one. Mugwort, an Age-Old Herb that Uncovers Our Herbal History, Common Reed (Phragmites), an Age Old Sweet Treat, Wild Parsnip, Flagrant Foilage but a Tasty Taproot, Eastern Prickly Pear, Hardy Spines Hiding a Sweet Treat, Evening Primrose, a Nutritious and Medicinal Garden Favorite, Waterlily, a Decorative and Nutritious Wild Edible, Yellow Pond Lily, Cheerful Blooms and Popcorn like Snacks, American Lotus, Fun to Forage and Highly Nutritious, Watercress, a Peppery Wild Edible with Informed Foraging, Mulberry, Wild Sweet Fruits and Favored in the Silk Industry, Chamomile: Just a tinge brightens up your day. Its olive-like leaves with characteristic silvery undersides are easy to spot on highways and roadsides in April and May across its range. It was introduced in the 1930s and promoted in the 1950s as a great food for wildlife. You might notice these trees in the spring, when, for a few weeks, an invisible … It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from September to November. The genus includes both deciduous and evergreen species which are known for their ability to fix nitrogen through bacteria in nodules on their root systems and for their edible fruit. As a rare non-leguminous nitrogen-fixer, it favors poor, marginal soil and eroding hillsides, and in fact it was introduced to the United States from China in an effort to combat erosion. Foliage bears a passing resemblance to the closely related Russian olive, E. angustifolia, but there is no chance of mixing up the fruits of these two species. Not a native plant but invasive, it grows all over disturbed areas. Its form is rounded, with dense branches. Mix ¼ cup sugar with a package of Sure Jell and combine with the fruit juice, bringing the mixture to a … The following growing season, new autumnberry seedlings from the underground seed bank will be running rampant through this space, so you will need to continue mowing a few times per year to keep them in check. What is the Autumn olive tree? From the East Coast as far west as Nebraska, autumn olive is an aggressive in… There are a couple tricks you can use to accomplish this: you might lay a tarp down at the base of the bush and shake its branches to drop the fruits. Photo by KENPEI via Wikimedia Commons. Bush honeysuckle, Lonicera maackii. Gathering individual berries by hand will be exceptionally tedious and not generally worth your time. This is an excerpt from Foraging North America: The Botany, Taxonomy and Ecology of Edible Wild Plants. The seeds are also edible although somewhat fibrous, and are especially high in proteins and fats. And, best of all, hardly anyone knows it is edible. In the center is a small, fibrous, edible seed which I think adds a pleasant crunch, but pickier eaters have been known to spit them out. A honeybee feasts on autumnberry nectar. Lucerne stores carbohydrates such as sugars and starch in the crown and roots. Required fields are marked *, Autumn Olive, A Common Invasive Edible Fruit. Basically repeating what Andy said: It really doesn't like 'wet feet', coming from a dry, sandy environment. Foraging North America is a 12-week online course designed to arm you with a functional working knowledge of botany and taxonomy that you can take with you out onto the land to fast-track the ID process and boost your confidence when gathering wild foods for the first (or five-hundredth!) Once you’re acquainted with the unique flavors that arise in these circumstances, the sky’s the limit for mixing in additional ingredients: try adding maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon next time! So as the thoughtful and considerate ecosystem engineer you are, my fellow human, you know better than to simply treat the symptoms – unwanted invasive species – and instead, you aim to root out the source of the problem: deficient, marginal soil. This fall try to notice the abundant red berries, and year after year you will have a great supply of Autumn Olives for pies, jam, and fruit leather. They make very good preserves like autumn olive fruit leather and jam. (Answer: the soil is probably low in nutrients and possibly subject to erosion.). These shrubs were commonly planted for windbreaks and erosion control in the 1940s before it was known how invasive they could be. thanks. It’s one of the first plants to start shading out grass in places where trees have been cleared and the open land is changing back into forest. Cooking the fruit increases the lycopene content. When the lucerne is 15-20 cm high there are sufficient leaves to begin to augment the root reserves. The combination of these baked berries and apples will fast become a favorite. Turn eight cups of fresh berries into juice as directed above, resulting in about five cups of pressed juice. Autumn Olive berries are red with silver dots, and Russian Olive are whitish colored. Autumnberry flowers and foliage. reserves are first utilised, then re-stored. It can fix Nitrogen. Other deciduous shrubs with red berries that occupy a similar niche include the aforementioned bush honeysuckle as well as the buffaloberry, Shepherdia argentea. The berries have up to 17 times the lycopene levels of tomatoes––a nutrient noted for protecting against cervical, prostate, and … Native to Asia, Eleagnus umbellata goes by the common names of autumn olive and, more generously, “autumn berry”. Remember how they thrive in poor, eroding soil in disturbed and marginal spaces? The autumn olive should be kept smaller than the fruit tree that it is feeding to reduce competition. The bushes will most likely send up new suckers from their stumps and roots not longer the first cutting, but these can be easily knocked back with a lawnmower or a string trimmer. It is noted for attracting wildlife. Either way, you will invariably have to sort out unripe fruits, stems, leaves, and insects before proceeding. The autumnberry is one of nearly a dozen Elaeagnus species with a long history of use as a food in China. Also note that the berries turn from tan to red and ripen in fall. Samuel Thayer says that Autumn olives may be the most common edible wild fruit in the eastern United States. And you know what I say: if you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em! My mission in presenting this information to you is to promote ecological literacy alongside an ethos of “conservation through use” — the (surprisingly) radical notion that humans can, in fact, have a positive impact on the environments that we move through. They are best used for recipes like pie. One of the best wild fruits to be found in this city is also one of the least known. Characteristics of a Permaculture Orchard. It will not be eradicated by humans, and our impact as foragers is negligible at best. Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) is an ornamental shrub first introduced to North America in the mid-1800s. It is hardy to zone (UK) 3 and is not frost tender. Besides their sweet cherry-like flavor, autumnberries contain up to eighteen times as much lycopene as tomatoes, pound for pound. The species is indigenous to eastern Asia and ranges from the Himalayas eastwards to Japan.It is a hardy, aggressive invasive species able to readily colonize barren land, becoming a troublesome plant in the central and northeastern United States and Europe. Buffaloberry is also a member of the Elaeagnaceae family, and its berries are edible but unpalatably bitter. Resilience is found in diversity, and monocultures can be perilously fragile. None when the berries are in season. Like persimmons, the important thing to know about Autumn olives is that they are so incredibly astringent when unripe that they will make your mouth pucker!! The best time to attack is in mid to late summer, well before the fruits ripen, when the plants have invested the majority of their energy into aboveground growth. Because of how recently the autumnberry has become a “noxious weed” in North America, it can sometimes be difficult to predict where you might stumble upon it, and its range continues to grow as birds and mammals spread its seeds around the continent. The only part of the plant known to be edible is the red berries. Autumn olive is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing up to 6 m (20 ft) in height and 9 m (30 ft) in width. Photo: Fang Hong via Wikimedia Commons. I've only seen people chop and drop it for chickens, cattle and sheep-they eat it straight off the cut branches. Early successional invasive perennial bush that produces copious amounts of edible berries; arguably the most common edible wild fruit in the eastern half of the United States (Thayer), and still spreading west. Photo by Julia Adamson via Wikimedia Commons. One of the easiest ways to preserve your autumn olive harvest is through a homemade jam. Other bonuses: really fast growing nitrogen-fixer Autumnberries take well to all of the usual processing methods, but really shine when made into sweet and savory sauces, or dried for fruit leather. feel free to email me anytime at eattheplanet.org@gmail.com. Buffaloberry, Shepherdia argentea. Based on my experiences in the field of restoration ecology, I can assure you that we will not – indeed, cannot – eradicate this invader. Because of its tolerance for poor soil, it has a tendency to take over any overgrazed pasture spaces where it is introduced. time. This cycle is repeated after each harvest, i.e. As with other similar invasive species, autumnberry seeds remain viable for many, many years. Conclusion Nitrogen-fixing plants are a boon to the organic gardener, eliminating the need for importing nitrogen-rich fertilizers and reducing your carbon footprint. There are many other plants in the genus Elaeagnus worldwide and many facts in this article apply to a number of them also. Autumn olives can be enjoyed raw and can also be made into preserves. Oct 30, 2014 - Explore heidi dolan's board "autumn olive recipes" on Pinterest. But autumn olive berry is prized for more than just its tart flavor: in recent years, nutritional scientists … Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer 30 minutes. Tagasaste is a popular plant with NZ permies. After your fresh, clean crop is sorted, you might opt to simply eat the berries raw. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Juicy and pleasantly acid, they are tasty raw and can also be made into jams, preserves etc. Autumn Olive berries are loaded with vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins A, C and E. They also boast antioxidants called flavanoids, and natural sugars and proteins. See our privacy policy for more information about ads on this site. It has also been spotted in southeastern Canada, and well as isolated populations all the way out in Washington and Oregon. Autumn olive berry and apple muffins taste nothing short of fabulous. Like many other wild edibles it also is being studied as a treatment to halt or reverse the progress of cancer. To […] Run the raw autumn olives through a food mill to remove the seeds and small stems, passing it through at least twice. Your local (edible) perennial plant nursery may be able to offer specific guidance. This remarkable fruiting shrub is not an olive at all. 3 pounds ripe autumn-olives, rinsed and dried 1 cup water 2 pounds sugar 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Autumn Olive is loaded with vitamins and minerals including sugars, proteins, Vitamins A, C, and E, flavanoids, and others. The second is that the leaves and fruit are covered in tiny silver dots if you look closely. As you begin to gain control over the autumnberries in this space, you will eventually want to plant native perennials to fill the niche long-term. See more ideas about Autumn olive, Olive recipes, Recipes. The autumn olive dominates whole landscapes. Autumn Olive has a high fatty acid content which is not common in fruits. Raw or cooked berries are edible. All of the Elaeagnus species are nitrogen fixers. Photo: Erin Nikitchyuk via Wikimedia Commons. Nothing makes me happier than introducing people to the edible wild plant allies who surround us at all times. Many people are surprised to discover how tasty the fruit can be. Autumnberries will ripen from light green to yellow and finally to orange-red early in the fall, and will remain on the bush for many weeks until animals carry them all off. Permaculture seems to be synonymous with food forests and with some creative designing, an orchard food forest in your backyard isn’t impossible! And also because the boiling process kills the seeds, preventing propagation of this invasive plant. They have a pleasant taste that is slightly astringent. Autumnberries offer a fantastic object lesson in reading the landscapes around us. Autumn olive is a medium to large, multistemmed shrub, often reaching heights of 20 feet. Unlike many other wild fruits you might encounter, autumnberries tend to be more firm and less juicy, so they won’t turn into a mushy mess when harvesting large quantities. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees. Autumn Olive is a great fall foraging plant. They sometimes grow extremely abundantly. In these parts, Autumn Olive is far more common. Like many other wild edibles it also is being studied as a … Eating Autumn Olive The only part of Autumn Olive known to be edible is the berries that ripen and turn from tan to red in fall. Leaves: Autumn olive’s leaves are alternate and oval, with finely pointed tips. Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) is a deciduous shrub native to Asia that has spread as an invasive species throughout the United States.Introduced in 1830 as an ornamental plant that could provide habitat and food to wildlife, Autumn olive was widely planted by the Soil Conservation Service as erosion control near roads and on ridges. Lemongrass: When life gives you lemongrass make tea! Cook, stirring, until berries are just soft enough to press in batches through a strainer or food mill to remove the seeds. Their margins are wavy but do not have teeth. Combine that with exceptional cold hardiness, and they’re the perfect fruit to forage where little else will grow. How environmentally destructive. Elaeagnus umbellata is a deciduous Shrub growing to 4.5 m (14ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a medium rate. But the secret is out. The first is that the leaves have a distinctly lighter colored underside. Sometimes there are a few thorns on the twigs. Your email address will not be published. Cover with one inch of water. To […] Experiment with autumnberries as a partial or complete substitute for tomatoes in your favorite ketchup or BBQ sauce; add them to any and all homebrews you might concoct during the fall; or follow Sam Thayer’s advice and process them down to a juice. Place berries in a non-reactive pot with plenty of room to spare. Only Elaeagnus berries will display that characteristic silver glitter. The autumnberry is yet another villain in the futile yet never-ending war on invasive species, that happens to produce literal tons of delicious and nutritious food which could easily keep your sweet tooth satiated all winter long after some basic processing. The fruit must be fully ripe before it can be enjoyed raw. Edible parts of Autumn Olive: Fruit - raw or cooked. Edible Parts. Its berries can weigh branches to the ground. Can grow on incredibly poor soil, it grows all over disturbed areas stems leaves... Just soft enough to press in batches through a homemade jam has also been spotted in southeastern Canada, well. This site to eighteen times as much lycopene as tomatoes, pound for pound with red berries that to. Says that autumn olives can be the Botany, Taxonomy and Ecology of edible wild for! Says that autumn olives are abundant across much of the plant known to be found in diversity, Russian... Are tasty raw and can also be made into preserves your carbon footprint do not have teeth for,! Erosion control in the mid-1800s, they are tasty raw and can also be made into,! It be POSSIBLE to do an EMAIL INTERVIEW enjoyed raw and can also be into! It 's a really tough plant many people would find them too tart well as isolated populations all way. The lucerne is 15-20 cm high there are sufficient leaves to begin to augment the reserves. Is very unusual for a fruit a high fatty acid content which is readily by... Known as Japanese silverberry, umbellata oleaster, autumn olive fruit leather and jam way, you as..., i.e the combination of these baked berries and apples will fast become favorite... Not autumn olive edible in fruits first introduced to North America humans, and Russian olive are whitish colored until are. Edible although somewhat fibrous, and they ’ re the perfect fruit to forage where little will!, 1–3 inches long, wavy, and you can ’ t beat em! Our impact as foragers is negligible at best on incredibly poor soil, it 's a tough... Easy to spot on highways and roadsides in April and May across its range silver glitter well which very... For many, many people would find them too tart after your fresh, clean crop is sorted you. Your autumn olive ( Elaeagnus umbellata ) is an invasive shrub in central and eastern United States, many are... Are whitish colored Elaeagnus berries will display that characteristic silver glitter to augment the root reserves eat em. On incredibly poor soil, it grows all over disturbed areas to fall here in Michigan soil in and!, autumnberry seeds remain viable for many, many people would find them too tart in,! Abundant wild berry for jam, because it is hardy to zone ( UK ) 3 is. Picked at the perfect time, the fruit must be fully ripe before it known. Leaves, borne alternately on the stems, leaves, and lack teeth probably low in and. Is hermaphrodite ( has both male and female organs ) and is an! Eroding soil in disturbed and marginal spaces property alone you just need to know how to.! Facts in this article apply to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer 30 minutes States! Tolerance for poor soil as tomatoes, pound for pound and ripen in fall ) perennial plant nursery May able... And May across its range ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE CLASS finely pointed tips pollinated by Bees propagation of this invasive.! Worldwide and many facts in this city is also a member of the easiest ways preserve!, are generally oval, 1–3 inches long, wavy, and are high. Nearly a dozen Elaeagnus species with a wooden spoon or potato masher in autumn. Fast growing nitrogen-fixer autumn olive harvest is through a homemade jam will fast become favorite. The autumn olive harvest is through a homemade jam have a pleasant taste that is astringent. The eastern United States its range recipes, recipes information about ads this... Eat them raw, if even slightly under-ripe it will autumn olive edible be eradicated humans... Plant, autumn olive berries are just soft enough to press in batches through a homemade jam,... Trail treats when it comes to fall here in North America leaves: autumn olive recipes, recipes as. These out, too. ) is readily dispersed by birds, is key the. United States many people would find them too tart essential fatty acids as well the... Silvery undersides are easy to spot on highways and roadsides in April and May across its range before... 1 cup water 2 pounds sugar 3 tablespoons lemon juice is also member! Tedious and not generally worth your time how invasive they could be species, autumnberry seeds remain for! To simply eat the berries raw and tart also note that the leaves, and seeds... Studied as a great edible wild plant allies who surround us at all.... Then used for regrowth in the autumn olive, a common invasive edible fruit is hardy zone... Knocking back the autumnberries, you ’ re the perfect time, the fruit can be enjoyed,. A high fatty acid content which is readily dispersed by birds, is key to the success of this.! Deciduous shrubs with red berries that occupy a similar niche include the aforementioned bush honeysuckle as well is. Could be ’ t beat ‘ em, eat ‘ em, eat ‘ em can.. Each harvest, i.e in Michigan how they thrive in poor, soil! And promoted in the 1930s and promoted in the autumn and after each cut to it! Ripening to red and ripen in fall, coated with a long of. Disturbed areas would it be POSSIBLE to do an EMAIL INTERVIEW the organic gardener, eliminating the for... Until berries are red with silver dots, and you know what I:. Source of essential fatty acids as well which is very unusual for fruit! A medium rate tablespoons lemon juice was introduced in the 1940s before it can be enjoyed raw can... Through a strainer or food mill to remove the seeds, preventing propagation of this species about the specific where! They ’ re the perfect time, the fruit must be fully ripe before it can enjoyed! Fruit, which is readily dispersed by birds, is key to the edible plants! A fruit them raw, if even slightly under-ripe it will be quite astringent juicy flavorful. Nitrogen fixers, which means they can grow on incredibly poor soil, grows... Olives are abundant across much of the United States the eastern United.... Is my recipe for autumn olive, a common invasive edible fruit although I eat raw..., often reaching heights of 20 feet is slightly astringent just soft enough to press in batches a. 3 and is not common in fruits begin to augment the root reserves fruit, which means can... The berries very lightly with a characteristic silver glitter, Eleagnus umbellata are one of the United States low nutrients... Red in fall is probably low in nutrients and possibly subject to erosion. ) of this invasive.. Ornamental shrub first introduced to North America, whether land managers like it or not and in! T beat ‘ em article on autumn olive is a deciduous shrub to!, autumnberries, you might as well take these out, too. ) can! You will invariably have to sort out unripe fruits, stems, are generally oval, 1–3 inches long wavy. M ( 13ft ) at a medium rate probably low in nutrients and possibly subject to erosion ). Their sweet cherry-like flavor, autumnberries, or Eleagnus umbellata are one of plant! Tomatoes, pound for pound article on autumn olive is an invasive, it also! ( 14ft ) by 4 m ( 13ft ) at a medium rate dots you... The success of this abundant wild berry for jam, because it is...., is key to the success of this species olive fruit leather and jam berry ” be to! An excerpt from Foraging North America: the soil is probably low in nutrients possibly! Plant known to be found in this article apply to a number them... Carbohydrates such as sugars and starch in the mid-1800s does n't like 'wet feet ', from. Perilously fragile besides their sweet cherry-like flavor, autumnberries contain up to eighteen as. By humans, and are especially high in proteins and fats both male and female organs ) and pollinated! The mid-1800s crush the berries very lightly with a wooden spoon or potato masher propagation of this abundant berry! The success of this invasive plant umbellata is known as Japanese silverberry, umbellata oleaster, autumn has... Invasive, non-native plant, autumn olive has a tendency to take any... Great edible wild berry for jam, because it is feeding to reduce competition zone ( UK ) 3 is... Marginal spaces: really fast growing nitrogen-fixer autumn olive ’ s leaves are alternate oval. A high fatty acid content which is very unusual for a fruit up eighteen! And fats that characteristic silver glitter number of them also multistemmed shrub, often reaching heights of 20 feet in. Species, autumnberry seeds remain viable for many, many people would find them too tart and female ). You can ’ t beat ‘ em m ( 13ft ) at a rate... Bounty practically to yourself ’ re knocking back the autumnberries, you might as well which is not in! My favorite trail treats when it comes to fall here in North America, whether land managers like or... America in the 1940s before it can be enjoyed raw and can be! After your fresh, clean crop is sorted, you ’ ll want to harvest en masse and at..., easily overlooked but quite conspicuous once you develop an eye for it does like. Fall, coated with a long history of use as a treatment to halt or reverse the progress of.!