I wrote last year about my delight in discovering a serviceberry tree on public property in my neighbourhood, which gave me the chance to do a spot of urban foraging and make something delicious from the berries I picked.
I’m glad to say that I have subsequently spotted a few more serviceberry trees within walking distance of my home meaning I can grab a decent haul of the sweet red berries but leave plenty on the tree for other foragers and birds.
The window for picking is relatively short. There was about a one week period where I was making daily strolls to pick berries from the abundant supply. I then returned from a couple of days out of town to find that the trees were bare of berries and that was it for this year.
Luckily I had gathered enough to make something delicious. Last year I opted for a sweet, thick syrup, perfect with pancakes. This year I decided to turn my berries into a shrub, or drinking vinegar. I make these regularly, especially when I have a glut of strawberries or blackberries, but have never tried with serviceberries before.
The result is absolutely delicious; it’s a pity that I’m going to have to wait another year until I can make some more.
12oz fresh serviceberries
1 cup distilled white vinegar
Leave to steep for 4 days, stirring or shaking daily.
After 4 days strain the fruit. Then add the sugar: I use a 2:1 liquid to sugar ratio but you can adjust to your personal taste. After straining I had around 10 fl.oz. of liquid so I added 5oz of sugar to it and then gently heated it in a pan over medium heat, stirring regularly until the sugar dissolved, about 10 minutes.
Once the shrub is cool, bottle it and store in the fridge.
I usually drink my shrubs diluted with sparkling water.