Serviceberry - Amelanchier spp.

Serviceberry - Amelanchier spp.

A Forgotten Berry

“What are they picking?” “Aren’t those poisonous?” “You can eat those?” Just some of the questions that were directed towards us as we filled our bags full of berries… and as our kids filled their tummies. Serviceberries can be found everywhere, as they are often used as an ornamental in parks, homes, and businesses. The city of Old Hilliard has literally lined their streets with them. And yet… nobody but the birds eats them.

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

Not only are they perfectly safe to eat, they are highly nutritious and taste absolutely amazing. If there is any down side to Serviceberries, it is that they do take a little time to pick (about an hour to fill a grocery bag with them). But then the question has always been, “What should we do with the time we have been given?” Though this is the question among questions, around the second week of June there is an answer: pick Serviceberries.


Serviceberries look like little Blueberries that cover the tree in little clumps of about 5 or 6 berries. Unfortunately there is a small window of time in June (here in Ohio) to pick them, as the birds who know a good thing when they see it, will literally pick them clean.

The berry is the edible part, and it really does have an incredible taste of something like a cross between a Hawthorn, Plum, Cherry and an Apple, which isn't that surprising considering that Amelanchier is a member of the Rose family that includes these fruits.


These little berries are great raw and make an excellent little snack if dried. Though our absolute favorite way to use them is to mix them with Strawberries (which are available at the same time) making these two into a jam/syrup like mixture.

Serviceberry & Strawberry Jam/Syrup

Most jams require ungodly amounts of sugar to get them to set, but Serviceberries and Strawberries seem to have enough of their own pectin to set up on their own with minimal sugar. We simply put equal parts crushed Strawberries and crushed Serviceberries in a large pan, and sweeten it with just a little sugar or honey (as it doesn’t need much). Then we bring it to a boil for a couple minutes and that’s it. Though not always as thick as jam, it does the job, and from here it can be frozen or canned. This is not an exaggeration - words cannot even come close to describing what an incredible taste is created by the marriage of these two fruits.