i don’t really know how i’ve not written massive numbers of posts about my love of service berries. i’ve written so many about paw paws, you would think it’s my only native fruit love, but no, i love many other native fruits, and perhaps as wonderful, though certainly much less exotic is the service berry. service berries are all over the place, they are used by landscapers in plantings, and as street trees. i’ve picked them all over the place, eating them off the front lawn of one of the local casinos, and run off the city county building’s property by security for eating a snack.
birds love service berries too, they seem my only competition. as common as the plant be, the fact that they are edible and tasty seems unknown. while picking i had several people ask me what they were, but refused my offer to try them. i was a little shocked, because as my mother will attest, it’s always been more of a challenge to keep me from sticking things in my mouth than getting me to try something. one man was concerned it would make him sick before his meal of wendy’s chili. while i think he should be concerned about sickness, i don’t think service berries are the issue.
in about an hour i was able to easily pick 2.5 pounds of ripe berries, now washed, and frozen, destined for a batch of mead this morning.
the darker red, almost purple berries are the sweetest, but the birds are always on the lookout for these, so if you wait for them all to be dead ripe, you might be missing out. i actually like them a little less ripe, as i enjoy the more complex flavor of under ripe fruit.
here in detroit, many people want to grow blueberries, and they end up being really sick looking plants because they need a very low ph, and we have pretty high ph. some folks go though the effort of adding an acidifying product each year to make the plants happier, but this just seems like too much work. i say accept that you don’t have the right soil and find something else that is happy in that place. and my recommended substitute is always service berries. much easier to grow, they can be substituted in anything that blueberries are used in. part of the reason i think folks are so geeked on blueberries is that they are touted as a super food. of course the only reason i think they are touted as such is that the blueberry council shelled out a good amount of cash to get research done that proves that they are such.
service berries as it turns out are also extremely healthy for you, maybe even better than blueberries, but don’t have a service berry behind them. they are in great abundance right now, but the bird and i will have picked them clean by the end of the week, so get out there and start picking.
and of course because i love them, i’m starting more trees from seeds in the quickly growing backyard nursery.