Osoberry (Oemleria cerasiformis) is a native coastal berry shaped like a small deep purple plum. They are perfect in recipes for shrubs or vinegar syrups which are made with very ripe fruit. Add a soda water if you want a non-alcoholic version or Prosecco if you want to start the party.
One really neat First Nations historical use of osoberries was to preserve them in fish oil. If anyone has any other recipes with them please tell me in the comments below.
Where to find them…
Osoberries are found in coastal Garry oak ecosystems and at forest margins from BC to California, find a sunny patch for the ripest berries. They have flavour notes of ripe cherries, cedar and have a cucumber finish.
Osoberry Shrub Recipe
This recipe is by weight so that you can adjust it to however many you can harvest. It’s so good for digestion and really beautiful.
- 1 part apple cider vinegar/ 1 part ripe fruit/ 1 part brown sugar
- Optional: Rosemary, peppercorns, basil, lemon rind, cardamom etc.
- Note: You can use any vinegar, but it must be at least 5% acidity.
Heat the vinegar to just below boiling point (190F). Combine the fruit, vinegar and spices and mash together, and put in a sterilized glass jar, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool dark place for 4 days to 3 weeks stirring each day until desired flavour is achieved. Add the sugar, mix to dissolve and serve with ice, soda or Prosecco .
To learn more about foraging in the Pacific Northwest, take our online foraging courses or come out foraging infield with us in Vancouver sometime. More info…