Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Berry Alert!

If you're in NYC and want to forage for a little something sweet, now's the time. Get yourself out on the streets and into the parks and start looking up...and down.

Amelanchier berries are coming into season and they're delicious. Why more people don't appreciate their taste is incomprehensible to me. Maybe people just don't know them. (To know the Amelanchier is to love the Amelanchier.) You can't find them in stores and I've never seen Amelanchier on a menu.

Right now, if you look up as you stroll through the city, you'll see red berries that ripen to a dark blue. Another way to spot an Amelanchier tree is to scan the ground where you walk. When berries drop to the ground they can be messy; a splotchy sidewalk is a clue to look up.

I don't usually do this (give away my foraging locations), but as a gesture of encouragement, I'm going to tell you where you can find an Amelanchier tree with fruit almost ready to pick. Check out the park drive at CPW & 77th Street. Walk into the park about 100 feet and on the left is an Amelanchier hanging over the sidewalk. If you don't see the tree right away, look for the messy sidewalk. Yesterday the fruit wasn't quite ripe, see how red the berries are in the photo above?

This morning, 17 floors above the park, Mark and I gathered a quart of ripe berries in a matter of minutes. The intense heat and full sun on the rooftop sped the ripening process.

Berries are edible when they're red, but sweeter and more delicious when they're dark purple/blue. I included a few unripe berries in the middle of the colander, above, so you could see the color contrast between ripe and merely ripening. You should be able to harvest for the next week or so, depending on location. Berries are a delicious, easy place to start foraging. Come on...give it a try.


SaraGardens said...

We've just started harvesting here - and you're right, why do we never see Amelanchier on the menu (other than at your house, or mine, of course)!?

Marie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marie said...

I almost feel jealous about sharing the secret...But I'm very curious that June berries haven't shown up on more progressive, local-obsessed menus. Maybe we should deliver a pint or two to our favorite restaurants?

Ha. That's exactly what I'm going to do. Stand by Gabrielle. I have a date at Prune on Monday.

Georgia said...

Hi Ellen. Check out my post about Amelanchier (http://localecologist.blogspot.com/2010/06/6-things-to-do-with-amelanchier.html). Many trees in my neighborhood. I've been foraging!

Ellen Spector Platt said...

Tasted some nice ripe Amelanchier berries on The High Line today, all in the interest of science; I needed to document the flavor.My two companions declared them amazingly delicious.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for telling me the name of these berries. I was in NYC in June 2015 and saw them growing on the Highline! I did what I told my children NOT to do, I ate berries that I didn't know the ID of. They were delicious but from this post I see I was eating them before they were fully ripe! I ate the dark red ones. They remind me of blueberries, in shape and size. Flavor and seeds differ.

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