Berry Picking in Alaska
When people in Alaska have been asked why they pick berries, the answers cover a wide range of reasons. Some of the reasons are: family fun, family tradition, commune with nature, berries are there, to make jellies and jams, and subsistence. Regardless of the reasons, the berry picking season is viewed with great anticipation by many Alaskans.
Alaska's Wild Berries and Other Wild Products
This book is a comprehensive guide for the harvesting and preparation of Alaska berries and other wild products. Included in the book are sections on berry picking, preparation methods, canning, storage, remedies, and a myriad of recipes for Alaska plant species. It is the ultimate resource for any berry harvester, cook or enthusiast. You can order a copy here.
In early September in Southcentral wild fruit pickers can look for rosehips, highbush cranberries, lingonberries (lowbush cranberry), blueberries and crabapples.
Lingonberries are also called lowbush cranberries. The ripe fruit is similar in appearance to the commercial cranberry.
All blueberries can be eaten fresh or used interchangeably in pies, muffins, puddings, jellies, jams and other recipes.
One cup of cloudberries contains nearly twice the daily recommended intake for vitamin C.
Jams and Jellies
Alaska jelly, jams, preserves and wild fruit products are unique sweet treats. They not only taste good but are an excellent source of nutritious antioxidant compounds.
- Jelly is made from fruit juice. It should be clean and sparkling and hold its shape.
- Jam is made from crushed or ground fruit. It tends to hold its shape but is generally less firm than jelly.
- Fruit butter is made by cooking fruit pulp to a thick consistency that will spread easily.
- Marmalade is jelly with pieces of fruit suspended in it.
- Conserve is a jamlike product made from a mixture of several fruits. A true conserve contains nuts and raisins.
- Preserves are whole fruits or large pieces of fruit in a thick syrup.
For information on how to make these products check out our food preservation lesson on jams and jellies.
Recent research on apples and crabapples has provided evidence to support the often repeated adage "an apple a day keeps the doctor away."
For information on: Nutritional value, how to freeze, how to dry, how to extract juice, how to prepare puree and recipes, check out Leslie's publication on crabapples here.
Fruit leather is a dried-fruit treat, chewy and flavorful. High in fiber and carbohydrates, fruit leather is naturally low in fat. When the water is removed from fruit during the drying process, the remaining sugars, acids, vitamins and minerals become concentrated in the remaining solid part of the fruit, making fruit leather a nutritious snack.
Click here for more information on making fruit leather.