These new-to-my-neighborhood fruits have quickly become one of my seasonal faves, only partly because they are abundant. Way back in the 1830s, autumn olive bushes were brought to America as hearty garden ornamentals - the pretty leaves are green and silver like an olive tree's, although there's no relation. In the 1950s and '60s autumn olives were widely used to recover land stripped by mining. They are so vigorous they've spread everywhere, crowding out native species, so you can feel good about eating your fill. And they are delightfully tasty - a bit like pomegranate and a bit like red currants, very tart. Birds love them, too, and seeing them feasting is a sign the small red fruits, about the size of a pea, are ripe. Nutritionally, they're a superfood, with a ton of lycopene, vitamins A and C, too. And because they are wild the carbon foot print is zero! Autumn berries are wonderful swapped for any fruit or berries in recipes, added to a fruit crisp, pie, or fruit and nut bread. I haven't juiced them yet, but I'm thinking autumn berry jello is in my future!
Check this out for more complete info on identifying autumn berries - they're easy once you know the details. Don't eat any wild food you're not sure about! And check this out for an article about autumn berries, fighting cancer, and fighting invasive species.