Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Try Something New: Juneberries

Juneberries may be my favorite fruit. These are also one of the many things I forage for. Also known as serviceberries, shadbush, saskatoon or sarvisberries, these lovelies are on right now in Maryland and depending on your area and variety ripen between April and August. These berries look like a blueberry or miniature pomegranate with the "crowns" on the ends of the fruit. The crowns help you know they are safe to eat. No poisonous berries have crowns. But despite appearances, they actually are related to apples. Their edible seeds even look like tiny apple seeds.

Juneberries are an old-fashioned fruit. I asked my parents about them when I first discovered them, who passed me on to my grandparents. The older generation remembered these beauties fondly. They are naturally high in pectin and don't require any addition to make jam or preserves. And the flavor is something you cannot forget. Punchy and bright with a distinct almond note, there is no supermarket equal. If you have found these for sale somewhere you have found a rare gem. They used to be cultivated and distributed on a larger scale but have gotten lost somehow in the last half century.  I feel so cheated, that I spent how many of years of my life waiting to discover my favorite fruit can't be bought at the store or market the way it once was.  Shame. Now I am left wondering what ever am I supposed to do when I move away from my beloved bushes? 

I don't think I can relocate the bushes, but I would love to plant my own. They would be worth it, but there are still drawbacks to juneberries that I haven't mentioned. They take forever to pick. That is mostly because you can't stop yourself from eating them. They are that good. I even pick them slightly under ripe just because I know that they birds will descend on them soon and something this good simply doesn't last. If you can hold out- they are amazing when they turn purple, but me, sometimes I can't hold out that long. These, are one of the Gods' finer fruit creations. So find them if you can, or if not maybe it is time to buy yourself a bush. You can guess what I will be hankering to do this time next year.


  1. Hello! My name is Bonnie...I found your blog a couple days ago and fell in love with it instantly. Everything you write about,I am so interested in. I am very into natural foods from the earth and I cook everything from scratch. (Although, I do admit to once in a blue moon I will buy something processed. I hate doing it, but like I is a rare occasion and it's usually due to a serious time constraint and poor time scheduling on my part. I love to bake whole wheat bread...I have a post of my favorite wheat bread recipe on my blog.

    The June berries look wonderful...I live in PA and have not seen them at the farmers market. I do have relatives in Maryland are you saying you can only find them out in the woods where you live??? You should make a pie!

  2. Bonnie- good to have you. I'm flattered you're here.

    I actually live in Baltimore city and the bushes are outside an apartment building- so really, they could be anywhere- good luck hunting.

    And a pie would be fantastic. I just made jam but I have another quart of uncommitted fruit...


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