Autumn Olive: A Forgotten Wild Food

Autumn Olive2   

Most people are not familiar with the Autumn-olive tree.  It is known as a forgotten wild food and few are aware of the nutrition it offers.  Such was the case with me until about a month ago when a good friend of mine educated me on the Autumn-olive tree growing in her yard.  This tree is closely related to the Russian olive, and both were introduced to North America for mostly landscaping and wild life food purposes.  However, the attention it is gaining for its nutritional value is making it more popular like other berries such as cranberries and blueberries. 

Autumn Olive is high in lycopene. Tomatoes are praised for their high content of this nutrient, but autumn olives contain seventeen times more lycopene than do tomatoes.  Autumn-olive also contains other carotenoids, which help prevent certain kinds of cancers. 

Autumn-olive was brought to North America from Asia in 1830.  It grows small berries that are ready for picking and are deliciously tart- sweet when they turn a deep red color.  The bark of the tree is gray and fibrous and the branches have small, sharp thorns.  The leaves are oval shaped with smooth, wavy edges.  The top of the leaves are green, while the underside of the leaves are a silvery color. 

Besides eating Autumn-olives straight off the tree or adding them to smoothies, here are a few yummy recipes to try: 

Join me at Modern Alternative Health for the recipes!

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