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Foraging for Wild Berries

Posted by on August 3, 2015

The hubby and I took the new boat out of Whittier again this weekend. We headed out with some family members in their boats. All three boats ended up having engine issues, which turned it into a long and rather stressful weekend. But I came home happy after foraging for wild berries!

 

Foraging for Wild Berries - IdlewildAlaska

We spent the night in Mink Cove, a sheltered little spot about 30 miles from town (by boat). My cousin, uncle, and I rowed rafts and kayaks to shore and found tons of blue huckleberries and salmon berries.

I’m not a huge fan of salmon berries. They look like raspberries, but don’t have as much flavor as raspberries do (in my opinion. I know lots of people who love them.). I picked until it was time to head back to the boat to head out for fish. I ended up with a couple cups of huckleberries, perfect for a pie (RECIPE) or berry crunch (RECIPE)!

Alaskan Wild Berries - IdlewildAlaska

The red berries are the salmon berries. The dark blue are huckleberries.

The blue oval-leaf huckleberries are technically Vaccinium ovafolium, also known as oval-leaf blueberries. You’ll often hear these referred to as “high-bush blueberries,” as opposed to the “low-bush blueberries,” which are very short little plants that carpet the mountains of south central Alaska and further north. Read more on the berry HERE.

Mink Cove, Alaska - IdlewildAlaska

Looking out from Mink Cove.

These huckleberries are a very dark blue, almost black. The leaves are oval with smooth edges and have red stems.

 

 

Blue Huckleberries - IdlewildAlaska

It was a beautiful weekend in Whittier. It’s very commonly raining or misting in Whittier, so days like this with hardly a cloud in the sky are very much appreciated!

Port Wells, Alaska - IdlewildAlaska

It started off somewhat cloudy, but kept clearing as time went by!

Octopus caught in a shrimp pot - IdlewildAlaska

Darn octopus ate all the shrimp in one of our shrimp pots! (He was released unharmed.)

Before we left on for our boat trip, I made some zucchini bread muffins to take with us. (Get the recipe HERE.) I usually put a cup of applesauce in it to keep it nice and moist, but I was out. So I ran out to the back yard of the homestead and picked some wild raspberries. They added amazing little pops of tangy-ness to the zucchini muffins! (I added one cup of berries to the recipe.) I love being able to go out in my backyard and get wonderful treats like that.

Wild Alaskan Raspberries - IdlewildAlaska

I’m hoping to get a chance to go foraging for the low-bush blueberries soon. I’d love to have a bunch in the freezer for this winter!

Two of my favorite books for foraging in the North are The Boreal Herbal and the Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers. I can’t wait to do more foraging! Do you forage for any edible or medicinal plants? Comment below!

Sunset over Culross Pass, Alaska - IdlewildAlaska

Sunset over Culross Pass.

 


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4 Responses to Foraging for Wild Berries

  1. kelly

    Such beautiful breathtaking pictures !
    Thanks for sharing

  2. Jaqueline Biggs

    I lived off of wild berries in Alaska on our homestead when I was a child. If I was out playing and got hungry I just forged for blueberries–both high and low, raspberries, red currants, and lingonberries. We were surrounded by an abundance of them all.

    Living in England aboard a narrow boat and continuously cruising, we have the privilege of foraging thousands of miles of towpath hedgerows. Last year I harvested 14 pounds of blackberries, 5 pounds of wild cherries, 4 pounds of wild plums, 2 pounds of sloes, and 15 pounds of Elderberries. I made a delicious Elderberry/Blackberry brandy. I am a medicinal herbalist so I also harvested burdock root, comfrey leaf, and nettles.

    I love being able to find, identify, and make use of nature’s bountiful larder to replenish our own! Thanks again for your wonderful blog. Several of our British friends are now following it as well.
    Jaqueline
    NB Valerie
    Somewhere on the English Canals

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