Foraging for Juneberries, and Juneberry Pie Recipe

| 6/7/2015 4:50:00 PM

Tags: Leda Meredith, foraging, edible wild plants, juneberries, New York,


Juneberries, also called serviceberries, are one of the first fruits to ripen each year. They are juicy and enjoyable raw…but save some for baking because they also make fantastic pie! Juneberries are plants in the Amelanchier genus. They are tall shrubs or small trees that thrive in full to partial sunlight. They grow wild in open woodlands and lakesides, but are also frequently planted by landscapers in city parks.

Recognizing Juneberries

Ripe juneberries look like blueberries growing on a tree - they even have the 5-pointed crown on one end that blueberries have. As the berries ripen they turn from green to red and eventually dark purple. A couple of months before the berries appear, the flowers put on quite a show. They have 5 strap-like white petals and numerous stamens at their centers. Amelanchier flowers bloom before any of the leaves emerge, but are often still on the branches even once the alternate, oval leaves unfurl. Those leaves have fine teeth along their edges, thin leafstalks, and turn a beautiful golden-amber color in the fall. Juneberries have gray bark that is usually smooth but sometimes develops shallow grooves as the plants mature.

Harvesting Juneberries

Picking juneberry fruit in no way harms the parent tree. The berries don’t all ripen at the same time, so expect the harvest to last for two or three weeks. Juneberries ripen sometime between late spring and early summer.

7/2/2015 11:55:02 AM

We love serviceberries. They are truly delicious -- even better than blueberries -- and always plentiful on the bush/tree. Where we live (Atlanta, GA) they are ready to pick about May 15 and only last about 2 weeks before the birds pick them off. We picked and froze about 4-5 pounds without spending more than 45 minutes picking the berries. Can't wait to try your recipe!

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