Summer’s bounty: Red and yellow/orange salmonberries separated and ready to make jam and jelly. (Yéilk’ Vivian Mork | For the Capital City Weekly)

Summer’s bounty: Red and yellow/orange salmonberries separated and ready to make jam and jelly. (Yéilk’ Vivian Mork | For the Capital City Weekly)

Summer’s Bounty: 8 jam, jelly and syrup recipes featuring Alaska’s berries

Berry heaven.

Summer is here! Instead of writing about harvesting we are simply out harvesting. This is that time of the year when we are so busy we have no idea what time of the evening it is. In the middle of whatever it is that Alaskans are doing, we stop and look at the clock and realize it is almost midnight. The struggles of living in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Just to help you fuel your evening projects, here is a big list of yummy goodness from Planet Alaska for you to experiment with.

Thimbleberry Jam

• 5 cups crushed thimbleberries

• 1 package powdered pectin (1¾ ounces)

• 7 cups granulated sugar

• 2 Tbsp of lemon juice

Measure sugar and set aside. Measure prepared berries into a large saucepan. Add pectin and stir until dissolved. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. At once, stir in sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off foam. Immediately pour jam into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe jars rims and add prepared two-piece lids. Process five minutes in a boiling water canner. Yield: 8 (UAF version of Raspberry Jam supplemented with thimbleberries.) I’ve known people to use the blueberry jam recipe below for thimbleberry jam and it works out good too.

Blueberry Jam

• 4 cups crushed blueberries (about 6 cups whole berries)

• 2 tablespoons lemon juice

• Package powdered pectin (1¾ ounces)

• 4 cups sugar

Measure sugar and set aside. Measure prepared fruit and lemon juice into a large saucepan. Add pectin and stir until dissolved. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly. At once stir in sugar. Stir and bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam. Pour jam into hot 8-ounce jam jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and add prepared two-piece lids. Submerge the filled, closed jars under boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove from the water bath and let set on a rack for 12 hours. When cool, check seal, wipe jars and store in a cool, dry, dark place. (UAF)

Salmonberry Juice

• 4 cups of salmonberries

• 1 cup of water

• Add sugar to taste if you want to drink fresh

Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat the berries and water on medium and immediately begin to simmer when you reach a low boil. Mash the berries to release more juice. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain out seeds. I use cheese cloth in a colander. You can now freeze or can the juice. You can also use the juice to make a jelly or syrups.

Salmonberry Simple Syrup

• 1 cup of salmonberry juice

• 1 cup of sugar (Use 2 cups of sugar instead and it will last a few months longer in the refrigerator. It is just a lot sweeter so simply use less when eating later. The directions for a richer syrup are below.)

Bring salmonberry juice to a rolling boil. Add sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a rolling boil and turn down to simmer until desired thickness. 1-10 minutes. Pour into jars. Let cool on the counter and then refrigerate. Let it sit in the refrigerator a few days and it will continue to thicken. Tip: a teaspoon of butter will help keep the foam to a minimum. The syrup goes great with cocktails, and pairs well with wild game.

Salmonberry Rich Syrup

• 1 cup of salmonberry juice

• 2 cups of sugar

Bring salmonberry juice to a rolling boil. Add sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a rolling boil and turn down to simmer until desired thickness. 1-10 minutes. Pour into jars. Let cool on the counter and then refrigerate. Tip: a teaspoon of butter will help keep the foam to a minimum. A rich syrup has a longer shelf life than a simple syrup because it has more sugar. The syrup goes great with cocktails, and pairs well with wild game.

Salmonberry vinaigrette

• ½ cup of salmonberries

• 2 Tbsp cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

• 4 tsp raspberry vinegar

• 3 tsp salmonberry simple syrup

• ½ tsp sea salt

• Mix the salmonberries and raspberry vinegar in a blender. Strain the seeds. Stir in simple syrup and sea salt. Slowly drizzle olive oil while whisking to make sure that it emulsifies. Pour into mason jar and store in fridge for up to two weeks.

Labrador Tea Jelly Recipe

• 3 cups of tea

• 4 cups of sugar

• Teaspoon of butter

• 2 Tbsp of lemon juice

• 1 box of pectin

Follow the directions of any tea jelly and experiment with the texture you like. Add a little bit of vanilla to change up the recipe. You can also make the tea with rose hips to change up the flavor of the jelly.

Labrador Tea Mixed Berry Jam

• 2 cups sugar

• 2 cups of Labrador tea

• 8 cups mixed berries

• 2 Tbsp powdered pectin

In a large pot, combine sugar and tea up to a simmer & stir until sugar has dissolved. Stir in the berries, let simmer until thickens. Typically takes 10 minutes. Stir in pectin and bring to hard boil. Cook one minute or until liquid reaches 220 degrees.

Remove from heat. Can use water bath method.

Happy harvesting! Always harvest sustainably so we can harvest from Alaska for 10,000 more years.


• Vivian Mork Yéilk’ writes the Planet Alaska column with her mother, Vivian Faith Prescott. Planet Alaska publishes every other week in the Capital City Weekly.


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