January 11, 2016 /
Italia Peretti

Foraging From Bark To Blossom

This year our Casey Trees calendar, offered exclusively to Members at the Steward level and above features the growing movement—urban foraging. People are exploring their own yards, neighborhoods and cities to gather edible plants as an opportunity to taste something new, get outdoors and even lower food budgets!

The 13 month calendar — Foraging From Bark To Blossom, features a new tree every month that is a ready source of edibles and flourishes in D.C.. Each tree in the calendar is also available for rebate through our Tree Rebate program!

Kicking off 2016 — January is the month of the Hackberry (celtis occidentalis)! Hackberries are the gold medal winner of plant foods. They can be eaten right off tree without cooking or other preparations. Hackberries are also famous for the jams and preserves that pair well with both sweet and savory items.

Hackberry Jam

Spread this on your morning toast or use to marinate hardy, gamey meats such as venison or bison.

1 cup of berries will yield about 1/2 cup of jam.

1 cup of hackberries (washed)

Water to cover berries in saucepan

¼ cup of sugar

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

  • Wash the berries, remove the stems and place them in a saucepan with enough water to cover the berries.
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Once the skin has softened a bit, you can use a masher to begin removing the skin and pulp from the seed.
  • Pour the water and berries through a strainer into another saucepan to strain out the seeds. Push as much of the pulp through the strainer as possible using a wooden spoon. At this point, you might realize that a lot of the pulp and skin is still on the strainer.
  • Take about 1/4 cup of the hackberry water in the saucepan and pour it back through the strainer to wash extra pulp into the saucepan.
  • Depending on your taste you can add more of the skin off the seeds to the saucepan. This adds some flavor and texture to the finished jam.
  • Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice to the saucepan and boil. Then simmer and stir the liquid until it thickens—about 15-25 minutes.
  • Pour the thickened jam into a jar to store or serve with biscuits, crackers or meat.

Be sure to look out for next month’s recipes and tips! If you would like to plant a hackberry in your yard fill out our tree rebate form! And if you have any questions about how you can get our Foraging From Bark To Blossom calendar contact us at or 202.833.9125.