When I lived in Britain I had a pretty good grasp of plants that I could forage for locally: wild garlic and hops in the spring, blackberries in late summer, sloes in the autumn.
Moving to Georgia meant a different seasonal calendar as well as new, unfamiliar plants. One fruit that was totally new to me was the serviceberry, also known as the juneberry or saskatoon berry. I first heard about them through the work of Concrete Jungle, an Atlanta based non profit that harvests fruit and nuts from thousands of untended trees around the city and donates them to the poor and hungry. Their map of food sources in the area shows an abundance of serviceberry trees around the city. Last year I stumbled upon a solitary tree on public property in my neighbourhood and tried these delicious, sweet little purple-red berries for myself. This year I managed to pick a few cups of berries to experiment with whilst leaving plenty for other foragers and the local birdlife.
4 cups serviceberries
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
Add the water to the serviceberries in a saucepan and crush. I used a potato masher.
Slowly bring to the boil over medium-high heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool a little and then strain through a jelly bag or muslin. This yields about 1 cup of juice.
Once it is cool pour it into a jar or bottle and it will keep in the fridge for two months.
To enjoy my syrup I whipped up a batch of sourdough pancakes. My go-to pancake recipe is this one from kingarthurflour.com which calls for sourdough starter and the preparation of an overnight sponge, so it takes a little planning. I found it worked perfectly for me as I left the berries to strain overnight whilst the sourdough batter bubbled and worked its magic. If you have less time on your hands this is a great alternative recipe.
Once you have a stack of freshly cooked pancakes, drizzle generously with syrup and enjoy.