Wild berries are an elusive fruit. They appear for a short period during summer and fall, and then seem to disappear just as quickly. Their period of perfect ripeness moves quickly to a state of over-ripeness, giving foragers just a few summer weeks to take their harvest. In addition to the short overall window for harvest, you’ll also be locked in constant competition with bugs and birds for the ripest, choicest specimens. Once harvested, you have a delightful candy to turn into pies, jams, jellies, wines, pancakes, breads, fruit leathers, and more.
These delightful little pea-sized berries are great for juicing. Some are turned off by chokeberries because they try a few and find them dry and tasteless, but find the right plant, and pick them at peak ripeness, and the berries will be a uniquely-flavored treat that blends very well with other berries in addition to being ideal for juicing. Chokeberry is a shrub, and berries can be black, red, or purple, depending on subtype. Berries grow on the ends of long stalks.
Not to be confused with chokeberry, listed above, chokecherry looks very much like a wild cherry—but many foragers some find chokecherry to be even more delicious. Chokecherry is a small tree that blooms hanging clusters of small, white-petaled flowers with yellow centers. Leaves are very finely toothed, alternating, and somewhat oval-shaped. The unripe berries are red, but ripen into a deep purple to almost black color. Like the flowers, the berries hang in clumps.