We have Texas American Beautyberry growing all over our farm. All of the wild life love the beautyberry. This year the crop of beautyberry’s are plentiful.
As late summer turns to fall the bright magenta berries of American beautyberry capture the eye. These shrubs average 3’ to 5’ tall and wide but exceptional ones can grow over 9’ tall. They are understory plants found in most wooded areas, especially if moist soil. American beautyberry shrubs lose their leaves in the winter but the clusters of dried berries often remain on its long, drooping branches. Leaves appear in late spring, often after many other plants. The clusters of purple/pink flowers appear in early summer and quickly become small, white-pink berries.
American beautyberry berries become edible upon reaching full ripeness which usually occurs in late summer to early fall. They should be a dark purple/magenta color but not turning wrinkled and dry. These berries can be eaten raw and have a mild, slight medicinal flavor. To truly maximize the potential of these berries it is best to make jelly out of them.
Texas Beautyberry Jelly
• Harvest and clean 6 cups of beautyberries.
• Place berries in large pot on stove.
• Add 4 cups water, and boil for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.
• Pour the boiled berries through a strainer; mash to get 3 cups juice; add water to make 3 cups, if necessary. Discard any particles that don’t go through strainer.
• Pour the juice through into a large pot.
• Add one package Sure-Jell pectin and ½ pat butter. Bring to a rolling boil.
• Stir in 4½ cups sugar, and bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
• Pour into six half-pint jars.
• Process the jars in boiling water for 5 minutes to sterilize and preserve
The resulting jelly has a unique flavor which is very good.
These berries can also be used to make wine. Being low in sugars it is best to combine American beautyberry fruit with something sweeter such as grapes or bananas, otherwise the resulting wine will be a bit weak and have an uncomplex flavor.
Some people have reported stomach upset after eating beauty berries. Limit yourself to small servings until you know how your body will react
Three different molecules having mosquito repellent properties have been found in the leaves. Testing by the US army shows these compounds are similar to DEET in their ability to repel mosquitoes but human toxicity has not been determined. I recommend rubbing crushed leaves on your clothing rather than directly onto bare skin.
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