Instead we stumbled upon something which Mom declared was a cherry, probably a pin cherry, before proceeding to eat some. I was a little more cautious and waited to see if she went into convulsions before trying one. They were juicy and tart with a small hard pit in the middle.
Since we weren’t positive what they were we only picked two cups before continuing on our hike. When we got home we did some research and as far as we can tell they most likely are pin cherries. And it’s a good thing we spit out the pits because they and the fall leaves apparently both contain cyanide.
Although we didn’t have enough to do much they were so delicious we wanted to do something so we simmered them with a tiny bit of water until they were soft and then squished them through a sieve (so we could discard the pits). We added sugar to the resulting pulp and ended up with some pin cherry syrup which went into the refrigerator for later use in tea and sodas.
We may go back to attempt to forage more but the birds may have already discovered our secret and it may be too late. In which case we’ll just have to get a pair of pin cherry trees for the yard, it's clearly the only other option.