En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Can beautyberries be used to make jelly from Hodges SC

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Monday - August 02, 2010

From: Hodges, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Can beautyberries be used to make jelly from Hodges SC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Since the beautyberry bush berries were used for tea to help with colic, can the berries be used for making jelly?

ANSWER:

Since Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) grows natively all around Greenwood County SC, you should have a supply of the fruits for cooking, if you wished to.

This line from the page in our Native Plant Database on gives us the information on the medicinal uses of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry):

"Use Medicinal: Native American used root and leaf tea in sweat baths for rheumatism, fevers, and malaria. Root tea used for dysentery, stomach aches. Root and berry tea used for colic."

Looking further, we found a site on the American beautyberry from Dave's Garden, which is a forum. You can read all the comments, but some we thought were interesting were that it was edible for human consumption although it didn't have much flavor, but was delicious made into a jelly. Another said that early Floridians made jelly from it. One person used them to make Beautyberry pancakes. And still another described it as not juicy like a blackberry, but pulpy like a soft, mealy apple. And finally, one said she had a recipe for jelly but hadn't tried it out yet; she didn't include the recipe, and we couldn't find one anywhere else.

We would say one word from experience, not with beautyberries, but with mustang grapes, which we picked growing wild from fences in Central Texas. They ripened in the middle of the summer, and we took them home, boiled them for what seemed like forever, strained all the seeds and skin out, and added a whole lot of sugar, and pectin. It was a hot, tiresome job-the jars of jelly were really pretty, and everyone loved them, except for the cook.  Some things are simply more trouble than they are worth. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

 

 

 

 

More Edible Plants Questions

How to remove tannins from acorns
September 21, 2008 - On your web page it says that the edible acorns (example: Chinkapin Oak) are edible if boiled, but the wikipedia article on "Acorn" says that "Boiling unleached acorns may actually cause the tannin...
view the full question and answer

Identifying a plant similar to sarsaparilla
September 04, 2011 - I am trying to identify a plant that looks very similar to sasparilla, but has a ring of blue berries at the end of a long stalk, and the plant itself is spreading, not an isolated herb like sasparill...
view the full question and answer

Edible plants native to Bexar County, Texas
July 30, 2008 - What types of edible plants are native to Bexar county?
view the full question and answer

Are yellow bells (Tecoma stans) edible?
January 25, 2009 - Can you tell me if any part of the yellow bell can be eaten and if so what part. Also is it useful in making natural paints?
view the full question and answer

Fruit or nut trees for land in North Carolina
March 30, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants I have 70 acres of land in Claremont, NC and am looking for low maintenance trees, plants, vegetables, etc., anything I can grow so that this land doesn't sit unused. I am especial...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center