The American Beautyberry
Blooming a vibrant purple in the fall, the American Beautyberry is a common species native to the southeast and throughout Florida. Another common name for this edible plant is French Mulberry. It is a beneficial shrub for wildlife, is deciduous, will grow well in shade or sun, and may grow to heights of eight to ten feet. It is easily recognized when it fruits in the fall by its tight clusters of violet to purple berries found near the leaves.
The native beautyberry was said to be used by Native Americans for rheumatism, fevers, and malaria, stomach aches and colic. It is also used as insect repellent by rubbing the leaves together to extract oil. Today, many people make delicious beautyberry jelly from the fruit clustered along the stems.
- 1 1/2 qts. of beautyberries, washed
- 2 qts. water
- Boil 20 minutes and strain to make infusion
- Use 3 cups of the infusion, bring to boil, add 1 envelope sure-jell and 4 1/2 cups sugar
- Bring to second boil for 2 minutes
- Remove from heat and let stand until foam forms
- Skim off foam, pour into sterilized jars and cap.