We have lots of Autumn Olive maturing on our land, and I wondered about utilizing it. I found this article, which has good suggestions, but wondered if anyone has recipes for using the fruit? And tips for harvesting?
There are some great books on wild edibles at the library by "Wildman" Steve Brill. He very thoroughly explains the plants and includes a recipe section. I have some at home if you would like to borrow. He also has a website http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/ .
Wow... I'm glad you started this thread! Just this weekend I picked a bunch of these guys and while I'm a bit of a beginner with this fruit, I'll let you know what I've learned so far:
1.) The taste of each bush is different. So taste a sample of each bush you attempt to collect from before you amass large amounts. I don't know what it is : soil, degree of ripeness, etc. But I found one bush that was absolutely to die for, while others were mediocre.
2.) If you make stuff out of these you need to remove the seeds. I bought a "food mill" for just this purpose and while it's a bit of a grind to remove them (pun intended) it's worth it. Since the plant is invasive I recommend putting the seeds in a firepit or dispose of them in some way that won't propagate the plants.
3.) I made juice from a batch of these this weekend and it was totally delicious. The remaining pureed solids can be used in other stuff, but I ended just eating it raw anyway. I have yet to really try making anything out them, but my next project is to make autumnberry fruit leather.
I'd love to hear other things you end up doing with them since I have them everywhere too.
I remember harvesting buckets of Autumn Olives years ago in Rhode Island and making some kind of fruit butter/jam with them. I recall the flavor being reminiscent of tomatoes (strangely enough). These days I personally prefer to just enjoy them fresh as processing them was pretty labor intensive (due to the seeds) and I didn't much care for tomato tasting jam!
Sometimes I just slip them fresh into oatmeal or pancakes. Let me know what you try.
We harvested quite a few berries this fall but just ended up eating them raw, no process or preserving. It was great when our kids had some friends over and explained to them about eating Autumn Olive, and then they all ran outside and across the yard to eat from the bush, cheering as they went "Yeah, Autumn Olive!!" ;^)
I love autumn olive! It's one of my favorite wild edibles. The fruit is really great raw as a snack. I dried a whole bunch last year and threw a couple tablespoons in as a more savory raisin substitute in Irish Soda Bread. Turns the bread a nice orange color! In my opinion they're more like currants when raw and more like tomatoes when cooked- that might help inform your cooking choices...