Eating invasive species news and notes from around the internet!
Posts Tagged ‘autumn olive’
Baking cookies this holiday season? Try this holiday party staple with an Invasivore twist!
1.5 cups softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3.5 cups flour
0.25 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten (egg wash)
Autumn Olive jam
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Mix butter, sugar, vanilla, flour, and salt to form cookie dough.
3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg wash, then roll in coconut.
4. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and press thumb in center to make a small depression. Add a small spoonful of Autumn Olive jam into each depression.
5. Bake for 18-20 minutes until cookie turns a golden brown.
My own vintage:
I made my first batches of wine while an undergraduate in Bellingham, WA. One even featured invasive blackberries. Several things intersected back in 2003 that made this a great idea: 1) A home-brew culture and store down the block, 2) A tree filled with apples and 3) a juicer I got for my birthday. I made a gallon of apple wine, about five bottles, the last of which was sipped with my soon-to-be in laws the night before the wedding in 2010. But this is an invasive species story…
Autumn Olive wine making 101
The entire process of making wine is ancient, and the details of which are well beyond what I myself have mastered. I won’t presume to try to cover everything, many of you out there can probably do it better. What I do know comes from Jim and George’s Home Winemaking: A Beginners Book. I’ll just cover some basics steps, and let you experiment.
1) Sterilize everything. I use a 10% bleach solution, followed by lots of rinsing.
2) Get the juice, make it sweet. There many ways to do this, depending on what type of wine you are making, ranging from stomping with your feet, presses, juicers, concentrates etc.
I crushed 4.5lbs of autumn olives in a nylon bag inside a food grade plastic bucket, which acted as the primary fermenter in the next step. I added a 2.5 lbs of raw sugar dissolved in a gallon of boiling water (which was cooled before adding), and about 2 teaspoons of acid blend. I sulfated the juice overnight to kill off any bad yeast and bacteria, and added wine yeast the next morning.
3) Primary Fermentation- bubble bubble. I let the wine ferment covered in this bucket for 3 days, stirring each day.
4) Secondary Fermentation. Secondary fermentation takes the wine-juice-mash-must mixture into a large carboys to continue fermentation in an anoxic environment. Exposing wine to air turns it to vinegar, and to prevent this a gas trap is fixed to the carboy which lets CO2 out but keeps air from getting in (confused about fermentation? try this video). As the wine ferments, for several months, all the solids in the mix settle out, clarifying the wine. In the next step, we rack the wine to make, nice clear wine.
5) Racking, once, twice, thrice and beyond. Racking is the process of removing the yummy stuff, from the dregs. This usually takes several rounds.
5) Bottling. After 3-6 months, most of the sugar has been turned to alcohol. Alternatively, there was so much sugar that the alcohol content got very high high (~15-17%), that the yeast basically suffocated in their own delicious, delicious alcohol waste. In either case, fermentation is complete, the wine is clear, and it’s time to bottle. I haven’t gotten there yet. Stay tuned.
6) Imbibing. Pretty sure you got this covered.
A buffet of eating invasive species news and notes from around the internet!
- We recently enjoyed picking autumn olives in northern Indiana. Elsewhere in the state, the Department of Natural Resources are stepping up eradication efforts. Maybe we should send along our jam recipe?
- Enjoying Asian Carp burgers in Chicago.
- The fight over sporting swine continues in Michigan.
- The largest Asian clam control effort in history of Lake Tahoe is underway!
- Shout-out to colleagues at our base of operations, the University of Notre Dame, for receiving a grant from the EPA to continue research on genetic detection of invasive species!
Today’s recipe comes from guest contributor Rachel Hesselink. As an undergraduate at Calvin College, Rachel studied the competitiveness of invasive autumn olive in Michigan. Now a graduate student at the University of Notre Dame, Rachel studies the impacts of global change on salt marsh ecosystems.
- Approximately 3 cups fresh autumn olives (berries)
- 3 Tbsp pectin
- 2.5 cups sugar
“High-fives for everyone, every day below freezing”
The weather is taking the start of Fall very seriously in northern Indiana. Autumn has been creeping in slowly, almost unnoticed. Afternoons are still warm and bright, but backyard campfire smoke sneaks along with couples on an evening walk, and a chill floats through an open bedroom window of a morning. Last year it wasn’t like this, September and October -prime season for autumn olives- tipped-toed by with a summer that lingered too long. Thanksgiving was about the first time we noticed fall had rolled around and then it was too late- these red berries were gone.
The first chill morning was about two weeks ago, and the cool weather always excites me- the smell of cold, the promise of a real winter, and snow. There’s a calming urgency about a first snow, that I can hardly ever wait for, so I pledged to my friends, “High fives for everyone, every day below freezing.” It hasn’t happened yet, these little celebrations that will hopefully build callus, but we perked up anyway and saw autumn standing there with us. And remembered the autumn olives this year.
They look like berry-pickers
Two Sundays ago, just after Notre Dame beat the Spartans 20-3, Matt and I headed back out to Potato Creek, one of our favorite spots for edible invasivory. The home of such tastes as Cossack Asparagus, burdock chips, and mystery snail ceviche. It was crowded, a sunny day, and we drove slowly through the old reclaimed and restored farmland, plotting our attack.
Autumn olive grows best along roadsides where it can get at the full sun. It grows to a bushy 20ft tall or so, and I watched for telltale flashes of silver on green- the underside of the leaves shimmer with silver, and in the breeze the leaves beckon as they turn to and fro. We drove through a veritable tunnel of green and silver. Parked and with 5-gallon buckets in hand I heard two women with a stroller tell their child, “They look like berry pickers”. Our mission continued, trees heavy with berries. The small red berries fell easily into our buckets when ripe. Small and tart, with some bitter after taste, but good.
Two hours and over 2kg later we had our fill. Enough for jam. Enough for wine, and in six months we can drink it.
***To see what we produced with our collected fruit, check out autumn olive jam!***
A helping of eating invasive species news and notes from around the internet!
Maybe you should consider an invasive Christmas tree this year.
Have you ever heard of an invasive species hunting rodeo?
The Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb.), also known as the Japanese silverberry, was introduced into the United States as an ornamental shrub around 1830 from East Asia for its reddish and silver speckled berries. A quick and weedy grower in poor quality soil, it was also used for erosion control. Unfortunately, these traits (high fecundity, rapid growth, tolerance of poor quality soil) make autumn olive a dangerous competitor for native species that are also accustomed to nitrogen poor environments which previously had few competitors.
The shrubs can be identified by their oval to lanceolate leaves, small light yellow flowers, and small round reddish to pink fruits with silver specks. These hardy plants are tolerant to salt, drought, and a soil pH as low as 4.0. They thrive in disturbed habitats, but not in wet habitats or in dense forests. Autumn olive can be found in most of the eastern United States as well as some of the western states. They can be removed mechanically as seedlings or chemically, although care must be taken not to kill non-target species.
***For recipes featuring the tasty fruit of this invasive plant, check out our autumn olive jam!***
Pick of the Week: Monday, Jan. 24
Let them eat carp- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Karen Herzog on Chicago area Chef Jimmy Wade’s “Tapas Tuesday” feast where on Feb 1st, he’s going to be serving up Asian Carp and other invasive species. This looks delicious, if any Invasvores out there can make it, comment or drop us a line and tell us how good it was. Reservations are recommended.
Saturday, Jan. 22
Volunteers help pick up pesky air potatoes at Orlando park- Orlando Sentinel.com
Sunday, Jan 23
Wintertime battle against invasive plant life- The Daily Register.com
Brian DeNeal writes that while now’s a great time for manually controlling invasive “Autumn Olive” (Elaeagnus umbellate) we at Invasivore found an article suggesting that it also edible -tart and sweet. We’ll try and find a patch in the fall and let everyone know. This appears to be a VERY invasive species. We’ll be suggesting a harvest-then-destroy approach. We recommend The Nature Conservancy’s species info.
Eat a Lionfish- Save a Caribbean Reef
Tuesday, Jan. 25
What’s Eating You?
Humans aren’t the only Invasivores! Deep-Sea News reports on a native snapper taking an invasive lionfish out to lunch.
Though it does need some human help.
Wednesday, Jan. 26
Snakes stay put