The Health Benefits of Juneberry
Juneberries have attractive gray bark, an upright branching habit that becomes horizontal with age, and showy red fall foliage. Native Americans and early settlers gathered them and dried them for winter use. The fruits are ¼ to 3/8 inch in diameter, and fleshy red, turning purplish-blue to black. They are juicy with a mild flavour, ripening in late June. Birds are fond of Juneberries. The flavour of the fruit resembles dark cherry or raisin, with a hint of almond in the tiny, soft seed. Not only are they flavourful, they are nutrient-dense, with high levels of protein, calcium, iron, and antioxidants. Juneberries have about as much vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin A and vitamin E as blueberries, and also trace amounts of biotin.
Eaten fresh the fruits are tasty and may also be used for wine, home canning, fresh frozen, in pies, jams and fruit rolls. Juneberries are attractive as an ornamental shrub or may be trimmed as a hedge. There is growing interest in the Juneberry as a commercial fruit crop for the fresh fruit market, commercial processing and freezing industries.
There are several powerful antioxidants that appear in berries, including anthocyanins, quercetin, and vitamin C. Anthocyanins give berries their vibrant colour, reduce inflammation, and may help prevent and manage arthritis. Anthocyanins work together with quercetin to help slow age-related memory-loss. Quercetin can also decrease the inflammatory effects of chemicals in the synovial fluid of the joints for people with inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
Vitamin C is another strong antioxidant found in berries. It is largely responsible for the health of collagen, which helps maintain cartilage stores and aids in joint flexibility. Eating vitamin C–rich berries like Juneberry will contribute to radiant skin and healthy hair, and may reduce the risk of arthritis, cataracts, and macular degeneration.