Professor and Horticulturist

Q. I have a beautiful pyracantha in my front yard. It is loaded with berries. I have heard that the pyracantha is related to the apple and that the fruit (berries) is edible. Is this correct?

A. People must be starving - - they want to eat anything and everything that exists! One of the myths about pyracantha is that the berries are poisonous. If you've ever watched the birds feast on a branch of pyracantha berries, perhaps you have wondered if they were indeed poisonous.

The fact is, pyracantha berries are entirely edible and there is at least one recipe I've discovered for pyracantha jelly.

If you have a surplus of pyracantha berries this fall and would just as soon the birds did not rob you of them, you might enjoy the taste of pyracantha jelly. It is quite tasty, much like apple jelly in appearance and flavor.

Here it is for you aspiring cooks:

To extract the juice, boil pound of berries in 3/4 cup of water for one minute. Strain the juice through clean cloth. To one cup juice, add one teaspoon lemon juice and package powdered pectin. Bring it to hard boil; add 3/4 cup sugar and continue rolling boil 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into hot, sterilized jars.

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