Useful Plant: Silver Buffalo Berry and Autumn Olives
These berries are known for jelly making.
miwilderness in Michigan on the “Autumn Olive” hunt. Both videos are referring to elaeagnus umbellata though Shepherdia argentea is also called “Silver Buffalo Berry.” miwilderness uses the berries to make fruit leather.
Wikipedia says of sheperdia argentea (not pictured in these videos): “Buffaloberries are edible for humans. They are quite sour, and afterwards leave the mouth a little dry. A touch of frost will sweeten the berries. The berries can be made into jelly, jam, or syrup, or prepared like cranberry sauce from the forefrost berries. The berry is recognizable by being a dark shade of red, with little white dots on them. They are rough to the touch, and found on both trees and shrubs.”
The Wikipedia entry on elaeagnus umbellata reads: “When ripe, the fruit is juicy and edible, and works well as a dried fruit. It is small but abundantly produced, tart-tasting, and has a chewable seed. These fruits have been shown to have from 7 to 17 times the amount of the antioxidant lycopene than tomatoes have.”
In Michigan, we call these autumn olives. It’s a great as a nitrogen fixer when planted beside other plants, as a goat browse, as biomass that can be chipped or simply laid down for mulch, and of course, as food. I even heard a guy around us made wine from it after observing that the birds would become drunk on the plant after eating the fermented berries in the late fall. We have tons of these on our land up North. I’ve never made jam from it, but I look forward to it doing now. Thanks for the insight.
That’s some rich info about the plant and how it’s known and used there in Michigan. Thanks for this comment, Jeremy.