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Hobblebushes grow bold, red berries that can look quite appetizing. However, many red berries are toxic, causing all sorts of unwanted side effects. Before you eat a handful of berries from the hobblebushes in your yard, it’s important to know what might happen if you consume them.
You can eat hobblebush berries raw, in tea, jelly, and more. Wait until the berries are ripe later in the spring to ensure they’re juicy and not dry or bitter. Avoid eating the berries once they’ve fallen on the ground since they can contain bacteria, fungi, and insects.
Throughout this article, we’ll show you numerous ways to eat hobblebush berries, which animals consume these berries, and what you should know beforehand.
How To Eat Hobblebush Berries
To eat hobblebush berries, wash them, and consume them immediately. These berries rot fairly quickly because they’re small and juicy.
Here are five ways to eat hobblebush berries:
- Make tea with the plant’s berries. You can dry them and make a mixing powder, blend the berry juice with boiling water, and more. Hobblebush tea should be steeped for about five minutes for the best health benefits. It’s naturally caffeine-free, so it’s perfect for a morning drink or a bedtime tea.
- Cook and store jellies, jams, or preserves. Mash one cup of berries after boiling them in four cups (946.35 ml) of water, then pour the mixture through a food processor. Boil the juice and mash with one cup (237 ml) of water, one teaspoon (6 ml) of lemon juice, and ¼ cup (50 g) of sugar to create the most delicious hobblebush jelly around.
- Bake hobblebush berries in pies and other desserts. Hobblebush berries are much smaller than most fruits used in pastries (such as blueberries, cherries, etc.). You can fit quite a few of them in a pie. Boil them to loosen the inner flesh, remove the seeds, then bake them into various desserts.
- Juice the hobblebush berries to drink or add to your smoothies. The juice is sweet with a slightly tart aftertaste. They’re excellent for those trying to balance the earthy taste of kale, celery, carrots, and other vegetables. You can also mix the juice with protein shakes if you want to add extra flavor.
- Eat the berries right off the plant. If you don’t care to bake, steep, or mash the berries, you can pluck, wash, and eat them immediately. The berries are quite unique and unlike most other fruits, but they offer a unique sweet taste. They also have lots of healthy nutrients.
Hobblebush berries are considered safe and edible, though they’re quite seedy (source). You’ll have to eat around the seeds if you want to avoid digestive discomfort. Once they’re ripe, it’s quite easy to chew through the fleshy, juicy berries and spit out the seeds, though.
What Animals Eat Hobblebush Berries?
Birds, moose, and deer eat hobblebush berries, along with many other animals. They’re also quite a delicious treat for insects, so you might need to use an all-natural, organic pesticide on your hobblebush plant.
These animals will eat berries from the bush or on the ground, so they’re like a natural cleanup crew.
Many pollinating species thrive on hobblebush flowers before they turn into berries (source). That being said, many pollinating insects won’t be able to pollinate hobblebushes if the plants aren’t native to the area.
You should expect plenty of animal visitors during the spring and summer if you have hobblebushes in your yard. The vibrantly red berries are perfect invitations for hungry pests.
What To Know Before Eating Hobblebush Berries
Before eating hobblebush berries, it’s important to know that they need to be ripe, the seeds have to be removed, and you can’t eat them off of the ground.
Furthermore, it’s imperative that you know it’s a hobblebush and not one of the many similar-looking toxic berries.
Let’s review all of these details below.
- Wait until the hobblebush berries ripen to prevent bitter, sour, foul flavors. Unripe hobblebush berries taste absolutely awful. The berries usually ripen in late spring or early summer. Eating an unripe hobblebush berry might make you think you just consumed something poisonous, but they’re unharmful (aside from the nasty flavor).
- Most people have a hard time digesting the seeds, so it’s best to remove them or spit them out when you’re done eating the berries. They have a few seeds that need to be removed by hand for the best results. Avoid biting into the seeds because they’re quite hard to chew through, so they can hurt your teeth.
- Never eat hobblebush berries from the ground because they can contain countless bacteria, fungi, and parasites. The berries are safe to eat from the plant, but the ground is never healthy for any fruit. You can put them in a compost bin to add natural carbon, nitrogen, and phosphates, though.
- Wild raisins, another viburnum plant, are poisonous (source). It’s important to closely identify the plant to prevent yourself from eating a toxic berry. For this reason, we suggest avoiding eating any hobblebush berries you might find in the wild (unless you’re absolutely sure).
- You can use old hobblebush berries to feed birds and other animals in the yard. Place them around the edge of your bird feeder or fill a bowl with old hobblebush berries near the edge of your property. Keep in mind that these berries will attract flies and other insects if they rot.
Hobblebush berries are edible, but that doesn’t mean you should eat them every time you see them. Make sure they’re free of chemicals, wash them, and enjoy them in one of the many ways mentioned earlier on the page.
Avoid using harsh chemicals and pesticides on your hobblebush if you intend to consume the berries down the road.