Autumn Berries are the small, red, edible fruit of the Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata, related to, but not an olive). The trees have fragrant ivory flowers and silvery-green leaves.
The USDA found Autumn Berries to contain 17 times the Lycopene found in tomatoes along with high levels of protein, vitamins A, C, and E, and essential fatty acids. Lycopene “is considered an important phytonutrient, and is thought to prevent or fight cancer of the prostate, mouth, throat and skin, and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease” (Black, B.L. and I. Fordham. 2005).
The berries are sweet and tart when they ripen in the fall and can be used to make a wide variety of food products. Throughout the year, the trees provide shelter and food for wildlife and they have nitrogen-fixing root nodules that help them adapt to poor soil.
According to the USDA, Autumn Olive can be quite persistent once established, growing back from the roots when cut down or mowed off. Due to this persistent nature, seed dispersal by wildlife, and the ability to thrive in poor soils, feral populations of Autumn Olive have established throughout the Eastern and Central U.S. and Canada. As a result, Autumn Olive is now on several invasive species lists.
“We love this jam! Paired well with cream cheese, Brie or goat cheese with crackers or bagels!”R.P. ~ 08-09-2020