Although various species of this woody perennial are technically classified as under the genus Amelanchier, they seem to have as many common names as they have berries! Ok… so maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. However, if you find yourself confused when a person asks you to taste test between Juneberry, Saskatoon, and Serviceberry Jam, don’t be- they might all taste the same because they are, in fact, the same berry!
Serviceberries are commonly found in our area scattered around neighborhoods as ornamental plants, or growing as low-slung shrubs in the open woods. They are often mistaken for a variety of crabapple due to the apparent similarity in the appearance of the fruit and foliage. With a little practice however, it is easy to tell these delicious fruits apart from the sour and typically unusable ornamental crabapple.
Don’t let the multiple names or initial ID confusion intimidate you. Serviceberries are well worth your effort, as they can be cooked in a number of wonderful ways including jam, pie, sauces, and more. The serviceberries out at WMARS were in full season this past week, and we tried out our jam making capabilities with delicious results. Here’s an intern taste-test picture:
Serviceberries are extremely common, easy to cook with, and a lot of fun to eat. Get outside in your neighborhood or woodlot this weekend and try to find some of your own! Happy picking!
– Madeline Wimmer and Dave Schreiner, WMARS Interns