Free for the picking, find serviceberries in Asheville parks and along roadsides

serviceberries tree photo with Asheville City Hall in the background
Ripe serviceberries are available for picking in Asheville parks, including Pack Square Park.

Serviceberries are ripening in Asheville parks,
including Pack Square Park in front of City Hall.


Here are recipes that use them too


Edible serviceberries are ripening throughout many of Asheville’s parks, such as Park Square Park and Carrier Park. This native edible species is well adapted to our climate and feeds humans and birds alike.

Serviceberries are early fruiting trees, fruiting from late May into June. Because of this, some people call them June berries.

We encourage everyone to enjoy the fruits of this edible tree in our public parks, which supports the use of edible landscaping within the City’s Food Policy Action Plan. The trees and their berries are free of any City-applied chemical.

This year, we’ve rounded up some serviceberry storage tips and recipes, even one for serviceberry ketchup!

But first, where will you find them? Asheville’s Open Data Tree Map lists 32 locations where you can find serviceberries planted on public land in Asheville. Here are some of the locations where you will find serviceberry trees:

  • Pack Square Park, downtown
  • Murray Hill Park
  • Shiloh Complex
  • Along Clingman Avenue
  • Church Street at Lexington Avenue, downtown
  • Coxe at Buxton avenues in the South Slope
  • Spruce at Marjorie streets, downtown


For more information on the City’s Food Policy Action Plan, please visit the City’s Sustainability Website Find the recipes below!


Storage tips and recipes


Storage and preservation

  • Clean and store: Spread a clean, dry cloth towel over a slanted surface, such as a cutting board, with one end propped up a few inches above the other. Gently roll the berries down the towel; most of the debris and leaves will cling to the towel while the berries roll off. Fresh serviceberries should be stored covered in the refrigerator and will keep to one week.
  • Freeze: To freeze serviceberries, arrange dry, fresh berries in one layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. When frozen, transfer berries to freezer bags or containers. Frozen serviceberries stored in airtight containers will last up to two years.
  • Extract the juice: Combine 11 cups of serviceberries and 1 cup water. Crush berries. Bring just to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Strain through jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth in a colander. Let the juice drip into a bowl. For clear juice, do not twist or press jelly bags or cheesecloth. For long-term storage, the juice should be frozen or canned. Makes 5 ½ cups.


Serviceberry Ketchup

Makes 1 ½ cups.


2 cups serviceberries                                         ¼ teaspoon ground allspice

⅓ cup chopped sweet onion                             ¼ cup teaspoon salt

¼ cup balsamic vinegar                                       ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 tablespoons of water                                       ¼ cup ketchup

3 tablespoons sugar


Combine all ingredients except water in a nonreactive saucepan (stainless, glass, enamelware or ceramic). Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender; add water. Puree mixture until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week. Serve with pork, lamb, chicken or grilled potatoes.



Serviceberry Muffins

Makes 12 muffins.

1 ½ cups all purpose flour                                             ½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder                                           ½ teaspoon salt

1 egg                                                                                    ½ cup milk

¼ cup vegetable oil                                                         ¾ cup serviceberries


Lightly oil muffin pans. In a bowl, measure and mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat egg; add milk and oil. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix dry ingredients until just moistened, about 15 mixing strokes; batter should be lumpy. Fold in serviceberries. Fill muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or golden brown. Immediately remove muffins from pans and cool on a wire rack.



Serviceberry Pie

4 cups fresh serviceberries                                              ¼ cup water

2 tablespoons lemon juice                                              ¾ cup white vinegar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour                                     1 tablespoon butter

Pastry for a two-crust 9-inch pie


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large saucepan, simmer berries in ¼ cup water for 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice with berries. Combine sugar and flour in medium bowl; stir into berry mixture. Pour mixture into pastry-lined 9-inch pan. Dot with butter. Place second crust on top of pie; seal and flute edges. Cut vents in top. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.


Serviceberry Jam

4 cups serviceberries

2 oranges

1 ½ cups water

½ cup lemon juice

3 cups sugar


Prepare jar lids. Put serviceberries through food chopper with a medium-fine blade. Juice the two oranges and put the peel through the food chopper. Combine berries, orange peel and water in a large saucepan; boil gently until fruit is tender. Add juice from oranges, lemon juice and sugar. Boil 20 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.

  • To sterilize canning jars, boil in water for 5 minutes.
  • To prepare two-piece lids (rings and tops), wash, rinse and keep in hot water until ready to use. Follow manufacturer’s direction for preparation.
  • If less sugar is desired in recipes calling for pectin, be sure to use no sugar-needed pectin and follow the instructions on the box.
  • Process in a boiling water canner. Boil jars for 10 minutes. Transfer jars to a folded towel and allow to cool for 12 hours; you should hear them making a pinging sound as they seal.


For more specific instructions for canning and preserving food, Ball canning company website.