Monthly Archives: September 2016

Bears and Berries

Bears and Berries

Bears are of serious concern for many Alaskan berry pickers. With many berries ripening around fall in the interior, both black bears and grizzlies are gearing up for winter hibernation and need to consume as many calories as possible. I have encountered many bears while out berry picking and not only is safety an issue of concern but so is the bears need for nutrients. While we know as nature harvesters that we are not alone and we are not dominant we also need to know how to be safe while in “bear country”.

A few safety tips while berry picking; make noise so not to startle nearby animals, be aware of your surroundings and aware that surroundings can change quickly. It is safe to go with another person or in a group, but that is not always possible. Depending on your comfort levels and the location in which you choose to berry pick, a bear bell, bear spray or even a large caliber gun may be recommended. It is also important to have a basic understanding of the animals you may encounter.

Bears are massive wild animals that can weigh anywhere between 200lbs (black bear) and 800lbs (grizzly bear)(National Geographic). They can be nearly as small as a large dog or taller than a full grown man and are almost pure muscle. Berries are important to bears livelihood because they provide a major source of nutrients and are abundant in the wilderness. Bears are also very important to the propagation of berries. A black bear can consume over 30,000 berries in one day and the seeds pass through the bear’s digestive system unbroken and able to germinate (Berries). They can be distributed miles always from the original site and encourage more growth in the following years. These berries contain high amounts of antioxidants and the seeds of some species can contain vitamin B-17, these are both considered anti-cancer compounds by some scientists, and although captive bears have been found to have cancer, no wild bears have ever been reported to have cancer (Berries).

As we know, berries are important to us for our own personal consumption, we also know how important they are to bears. Be safe while you are berry harvesting but also be respectful.

Here is a video of a couple bears eating berries. You can see how fast and efficiently they can consume them, probably better than a berry rake. (VIDEO)  LH Fairbanks


“Berries – a Critical Food.” North American Bear Center -. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

Society, National Geographic. “American Black Bears, American Black Bear Pictures, American Black Bear Facts – National Geographic.” National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

Society, National Geographic. “Grizzly Bears, Grizzly Bear Pictures, Grizzly Bear Facts – National Geographic.” National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

Anthocyanin Composition and Antioxidant Activity of the Crowberry

Thirteen kinds of anthocyanins were identified in freeze dried crowberry extract. The total content was higher than nine other major berry species. It also held the highest antioxidant content.

Crowberries are suggested to help prevent chronic diseases due to their high antioxidant activity. KH Fairbanks
Kenjirou, Ogawa. Hiroyuki, Sakakibara.Rei, Iwata.Takeshi, Ishii. Tsutomu, Sato. Toshinao, Goda. Kayoko, Shimoi. And Shigenori, Kumazawa. 2008. “Anthocyanin Composition and Antioxidant Activity of the Crowberry.” Journal of Agric.Food Chem. 56 (12) pp4457-4462.

Nagoonberry recipes

I had never heard of this berry prior to being in this class, so naturally I was very interested in finding out more about it and came across some recipes added by someone here at UAF! Along with recipes the article also talks about how to clean berries, store them, freeze and dry them.

Nagoonberry Jelly

5¾ cups nagoonberry juice

¼ cup lemon juice

6 cups sugar

3 ounces liquid pectin

Sterilize pint or half-pint canning jars and prepare lids. Open liquid pectin pouch and stand upright in a cup or glass. Combine nagoonberry and lemon juices and sugar in a large saucepan. Place on high heat; stir constantly and bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add the liquid pectin and heat again to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam. Immediately pour hot jelly into hot canning jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and add prepared two-piece lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Nagoonberry Syrup

1 cup nagoonberry juice

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine nagoonberry and lemon juices and sugar in a saucepan and heat to 160°F. Use a candy thermometer; do not boil. The syrup is ready to use over waffles, pancakes, hot biscuits, ice cream and other desserts. Syrup will keep up to six months in the refrigerator without sugaring.

For long-term storage: Sterilize pint or half-pint canning jars and prepare lids. Immediately pour hot syrup into hot canning jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and add prepared two-piece lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Dinstel, R. R. & Johnson, M. 2015. Nagoonberries. Available online: Recipes. Accessed 21 Sept, 2016.


Dinstel, R. R. & Johnson, M. 2015. Nagoonberries. Available online: Accessed 21 Sept, 2016.

What’s the buzz all about?

Pollination is the process that leads to the production of the fruits we eat and the seeds we need to grow more plants. It is the process of transferring pollen from flowers to flowers to aide fertilization and encourages new propagation. Natural pollinators are highly effective and although man can mimic the pollination process done by many species, no amount of mimicry can compare to the efficiency of the many different bee species. Of the large variety of bee species, I find the bumble bee to be the easiest to identify as well as the easiest to actually see the pollination process.

There are over 250 bumble bee species worldwide with 49 of them being native to North American (Inouye). Scientifically they can be identified by dividing them into three groups based on the length of their proboscis or tongue (long, medium and short), but the best way to identify a bumble bee is by its fairly large round shape, super fuzzy body and the amplified buzzing sound emitted by their wings. The bumble bees tend to build nests in old hollowed out logs, abandoned rodent holes and other locations down on the ground. The queen will borrow into the ground and hibernate throughout the winter while the rest of the colony will die off in fall. During the spring the new queens come out of their borrow, find a suitable place for a nest and begin to collect pollen and nectar to help feed the first generation of worker bees to hatch. The bumble bee queens will rear a few generations of worker bees which are all non-fertile females to help collect pollen and nectar to help feed the final generation, next year’s queens and fertile males (NPS).

The bumble bee is a hugely important pollinator because of the efficient techniques in which these bees can collect and transfer pollen. The bumble bee will bite the flower in its jaws and use its flight muscles to microscopically and violently vibrate the pollen grains off the flowers anthers this is called buzz pollination or sonication (Inouye). The pollen will stick to the fuzzy body of the bumble bee as well as sticking to what is referred to as pollen baskets or sacs on the back legs. As the bumble bee flies from flower to flower each time carrying away a little pollen as well as transplanting pollen from flower to flower and possibly fertilizing hundreds. “The average mass of pollen and nectar carried by bumblebees returning to the nest is around 25% of their body weight. However some bumblebees fly back carrying as much as 75% or more of their body weight!” (Nature mapping).

Humans are deeply invested in the health status of bee populations because of the environmental services they provide and because of it many species are being commercially developed and shipped all over the globe, even in places they don’t naturally occur. Another hot topic is that bees are of conservation concerns. Human activities including habitat degradation, pesticides, diseases and floral resource depletion can have detrimental effects to bee populations (Inouye). Bees are of major importance to the Earth’s ecosystem functionality and are worth giving a second thought before smashing them out of fear of being stung. Next time you got a big bumble headed your way, think about the significant job that bee performs before reacting with fear. LH Fairbanks

“Bumblebee.” Nature Mapping Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

Inouye, David. “Bumblebees (Bombus Spp.).” United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. University of Maryland, n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

“Pollinators – Bumble Bee.” National Park Services. U.S. Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2016.


Crowberry Pie

Recipe for Crowberry Pie:

-Pastry for double-crust, 9 inch pie (unbaked)

-4 C crowberries

-2 Tbsp lemon juice

-1 C granulated sugar

-1/3 C flour

-1/8 tsp ground cloves

Line pan with pie crust. In a large mixing bowl combine crowberries, lemon juice, sugar, flour, and cloves; mix well and pour into unbaked pie shell.

Dampen edge of shell with water, add top crust and flute edge. Slit top of pie.

Bake at 425F for 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to 375F and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove and cool.

Yields 6-8 servings


Blueberry Wine

This is an article about the uses of mainly Blueberries and their uses in the process of winemaking. The author, tells the story of John Tamburello, and how he got his start in winemaking as well as some of the berry conditions that influence the taste of the wine such as rainfall, size and insect populations. At the end he even goes over the various flavorings of the wines. Overall a very informative and inspiring read for those who wish to learn about winemaking.

Chiasson, B. 2016. Blue wine and berries. Available online: winemaking Accessed 21 Sep, 2016.

Berry picking in Canada

This is a short story by author Ron Melchiore about how his family uses the woods around their property to harvest Blueberries and Cranberries. He walks you through their process and their approximate annual yield for each season of harvesting as well as sharing some of the products his family makes with the berries. this article is quite informative and well worth the read even if it is a quick one! AA Fairbanks/Seward

Melchiore, R. 2016. From the ravages of fire come berries. Available online: Berry picking

Show me the Yummy

Show me the yummy. July 22, 2016. Berry banana bread recipe. Available online: Recipe. Accessed September 21, 2016.

Blueberry muffin energy bites. Recipe. Accessed September 21, 2016.

CA Arizonaa

Uses of Berries

As we are learning more about wild & cultivated berries of Alaska, I was wondering what others uses berries might have. I found a page made by Tanana Chief’s Conference and wanted to include the information they have on their website!

Spruce Tree needles –

Symptoms: Burns, Childbirth, colds/ flu, sinus infections, sore throat, stomach troubles, tuberculosis, urinary problems, stomach issues, cuts or scrapes, skin troubles, childbirth.

How to use: Boil needles to release scent in air, you can also bathe in the needles, chew the needles, steam, or salve.

Burns: Heat spruce pitch and apply to relieve

Colds/Flu: Spruce bark tea/Spruce needle tea

Childbirth: Mixture of Spruce gum/ charcoal applied to child’s navel Most common uses: Spruce Bark & Spruce Pitch will be either boiled or chewed for applications

Rose Hips –

Symptoms: Rose hips are high in Vitamin C, A, B, E, & K. Good for immune system, heart/circulatory systems, nervous system, anti-inflammatory

How to use:

Skin: Rose hip oil can help with moisturization, and can be used to treat scars and acne

Burns: Rose Hip oil can be used as a soothing treatment on skin burns Organ Systems: Can help with the immune, digestive, reproductive, and heart/circulatory/nervous systems.

Most common uses: Rose hips are used in a tea, eaten raw, cooked, made into jelly.

TCC’s Guide to Natural Medicine. Uses of Berries Accessed 21 Sept, 2016.

Berries and Survival

Survival of the Berries  Here are some tips about eating berries in the wilderness. I thought this would be a nice blog post not only because it is great information but who knows maybe one day it could save a life. I hike a lot and I actually carry a field guide on me that talks about plants and berries. If I am not 100% familiar with the plant I do not plan on eating it. This  article talks about berries of the rose family being edible (Edible and non Edible Berries p. 2, Angela). That is something nice and easy to remember when hiking out and about.

Berries in the wild

Beauty berry

Beauty berry

The link above talks about beautyberry propagation. For those who do not know what a beautyberry is (I sure didn’t), it is a berry that is bright purple, it grows in bunches, and it is definitely a beautiful plant. It will shed its leaves and that is when the beauty of the plant really stands out. It blooms tiny pink flowers and is known to attract different types of birds, and then grows into the bright purple berry. It also acts as a perennial so it grows back on its own every season. It grows mostly in the southeast area of the United States. The article gives you step by step direction on propagation of the beautyberry. It seems like a very interesting process and a careful one as well. AK Wasilla

Berry Rakes- good and bad

Berry Rakes for Better or Worse
I have often wondered whether the berry rakes used by berry pickers actually worked against the pickers’ wishes. Although not many of us rely on berries as one of a few food sources, we would like to continue areas of good yield whenever possible. While berry rakes may allow for more berries to be picked in a short period of time, do they really help in the long run? According to this article in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner, many people do not know how to use rakes correctly, causing lots of harm to the stands where they are harvesting. The article lists several different people’s opinion on how to properly use rakes without harming the plants and whether they are actually necessary.
The article can be found here: berry rakes

A Forestry Experiment

Cranberries lost and found. When I was younger the area where I grew up used to be full of spots to pick lowbush cranberries (lingonberries). My family and I did not even have to go far. We could just ride our bikes down some local back roads and the berries would be growing all around; next to the roads and along the edges of the woods. There were some very nice spots deeper into the woods where the poplar and quaking aspen trees grew. The woods were not dense and the forest floor had many sunny and shady spots; the berries grew in abundance. But all this abruptly changed about four years ago on the evening of Sept. 15th 2012, an immense wind storm began to blow. The storm lasted for a few days after but the night of the 15th was of a certainty the worse any of us had ever seen. The winds were so strong that some of the blasts were rated as being hurricane force though no rain accompanied them. When it was all said and done nearly 500 acres of trees in the surrounding forests and valleys had been blown over. Because of the shallowness of their root systems when trees fell their wide root systems pulled great hunks of the forest floor with them. Many of our usually berry patches were literally ripped up by their roots and still many more were buried by fallen trees and branches. Our trails became essentially impassible, and the aspect of the forest changed so much that once familiar landscapes had become a shocking picture of nature’s destructive force.
This event attracted the notice of the local forestry division and they began to look more closely at our area. One forester in particular had a burden to make our area a safer residential zone; he felt that the thickness of the forests near our roads and near our houses was an extreme fire danger. In the summer of 2014 forestry sent a large crew to our area and they began to clear the trees near all the roads. We thought that this would be a relatively small project. A continuation of the cleanup projects that they had been helping us and the others in the area with because of the Great Storm. Time past and the tree lines along the roads moved back from 10ft to 20ft and more; then forestry decided more clearings deeper into the forests needed to be created as LZs for supplies and crews if a fire did occur. They did much cutting with chainsaws which was not very damaging, but this took too long so they brought a great drum with metal ribs on its outsides and filled with water. This giant cylinder was pulled behind a big piece of equipment and reduced acres of forest to great openings filled with ripped up vegetation and crushed timbers. Needless to say any and all berries in these areas have been completely eradicated. I and others in the valley have found other patches deeper into the forests and so all is not lost, but I do wish that in their quest to make us all safer forestry had not been so completely successful in removing all burnable substances for miles around. This project is still ongoing even this summer a crew was working behind our homes deeper into the forest cutting more and burning great piles of brush.
I understand the need for safety but I do hope that one day the berry patches will come back. A few of the men in our neighborhood, who own and run a logging and milling business, say that given time the torn landscapes most likely will grow up into deciduous forests. They hope that the increased sunlight and nutrients will begin to bring long dormant seeds to life. I see this being a good thing as in the past the best patches I found were under the canopies of deciduous trees. I have put in a few interesting links about lingonberries and the likely hood of whether the old patches I used to know will ever return. I have looked for info on the particular method of tree removal that I mentioned, but apparently it was an experiment forestry was trying. Their hope was that the deciduous trees would come back and are keeping an eye in this area to see how fast the forest takes to regrow including the underlying groundcover such as berry bushes. Because it is a new method I could not find much info about it I guess only time will tell. I will continue to watch the patches of cleared land to see how fast.the vegetation takes to come back. The following links are simply interesting research articles on Lingonberries and Alaskan berries that are important to Alaskan communities in general. AB Delta Junction
By Richard G. St Pierre, Ph.D. 2016
Accessed Sept. 19,
By Various researchers: Michael Brubaker, Jerry Hupp, Kira Wilkinson, Jennifer Williamson.
Accessed Sept. 20, 2016

A lesson learned – Blueberry Pancakes +

A Lesson Learned
As the great Alaskan holiday known as hunting season continues, the stories of the ones that got away and the exciting trips we’ve taken often get told at my dining room table over dinner. One of my favorite stories occurred on my first ever hunting trip when I was eight years old.
There was a large group of family and friends all together camping out on the banks of the Salchaket Slough just outside of Fairbanks. In the early mornings everyone would get up and head out to find the moose. By midmorning most of us would be back at camp, ready to make breakfast. On this particular morning we were having blueberry pancakes, made with freshly picked blueberries that bored me had foraged for instead of looking for moose. The camp stove was heated up and the pancake mix measured and stirred. The blueberries came next. My third grade self was ecstatic that the batter turned purple, a rookie mistake. I kept stirring with renewed vigor and in my excitement I dropped the spoon on the ground. A family friend retrieved it, the batter covered in dirt. I was upset, now we would have to find another spoon or rinse that one off. My friend winked at me and put the spoon back into the bowl, mixing it once again, dirt and all. That’s when I learned one of the most important lessons of my life, “A little dirt won’t hurt.” Those are still the best pancakes I think I’ve ever had.
Blueberries still hold a special place in my heart. Every year that I’ve gone out hunting I’m always sure to pick the last berries still holding on as an ode to those pancakes several years ago. Harvesting moose this year? Nope, I’m harvesting berries. CM Fairbanks

Straw bale gardening and strawberries

Who needs Dirt?
I really want to grow a nice, easy to care for, patch of productive strawberries in my garden. This has been one of my goals ever since I began caring for said garden, but I just never could seem to find the time or come up with a good plan that would be easy to implement and easy to care for. In the past few years I have begun to make connections and friendships with the people at the local co/op in the Delta Jct. area. I have found in them to be a wonderful group of people; who are willing and eager to answer all questions about my garden and have helped me to learn and try new methods for working both in my vegetables and my berry crops. Some of these kind people have even come out to where I live to look at my garden and give me hands on advice about fertilizers, watering methods, soil content, and weed prevention along with a myriad of other hints and tips.
Along with the professionals who work full time, the co/op also recently hired a local lady from Delta who is a long time Alaska gardening and has a great deal of practical knowledge and experience with gardening in Alaska. She and I have become friends and she has come out a few times to visit my garden as well. Just this last July she came out and we began talking about growing this and that. She brought up the topic of Straw Bale Gardening and asked if I had ever heard of it. I had not so she gave me a quick synopsis of how it was done; she then mentioned that strawberries could be grown in this way as well and that really piqued my interest. I have since done some research of my own and am intrigued by the whole idea. The info that I have found says that strawberries are an ideal candidate for growing in straw-bales and hay-bales, at least the annual varieties of berries are. Because of the plants compact size and small root systems many can be planted in one bale and are protected very well from pests and weed infestation. The straw bales are relatively easy to set up, don’t take up much room, and after the year is done the old worn out bales can be composted further and tilled back into the garden or simply used as mulch. Simple and not wasteful; I am eager to try out this method of berry growing next summer to see if it will work for me. I was wondering if anyone had any advice as to the best variety of annual strawberries to grow in Alaska and if they knew of any good suppliers of transplants that I could order from. Here are a few links to sites that have good information both on berry growing in bales and veggie growing in bales. I also found a few good Youtubes that show how to implement the methods, just look up (straw-bale gardening youtubes) and watch some of them.  AB Delta Junction
By Brian Barth. How to grow strawberries in Hay Bales. Available online: 2016
. Accessed Sept. 18,
By Ellen Douglas. How to grow strawberries in Hay Bales. Available online: Accessed Sept. 18, 2016
By No Dig Vegetable Gardening. Straw Bale Gardening. Available online: Accessed Sept. 18, 2016
Straw Bale Gardening. Available Online: Sept. 18, 2016,

Blueberries,zucchini and lemon! Oh my!

So I decided to submit a recipe for my first blog post. I also decided to find something new online using ingredients that we all have in abundance in our gardens when the berries are likewise in abundance. It was a no brainer when I found this recipe using one of my top fruits blueberry and yummy zucchini. As I read this bakers little story that she included I noticed she did what i like doing as well when i find a wonderful recipe….add a frosting or glaze ;).
Can’t wait to make this and enjoy the deliciousness that I saw in the photos. RM Mat-Su Valley
I’m including the blueberry zucchini bread recipe that started it all submitted by Laura Moody

blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups finely shredded and drained zucchini
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries (you can reserve a few for garnish if so desired)

Lemon Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners\’ sugar
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest of (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans.
  2. Grate a large zucchini (or two small zucchini) and place in a clean dish towel. Squeeze until most of the liquid comes out. You will want to have 2 total cups of shredded zucchini after it has been drained. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl and using a hand mixer, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini.
  4. Slowly add in the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Gently fold in the blueberries. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans.
  5. Bake 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Lemon Buttercream

  1. Combine butter, sugar and salt and beat till well combined.
  2. Add lemon juice and vanilla and continue to beat for another 3 to 5 minute or until creamy.
  3. Fold in zest (If you are piping this buttercream, I recommend leaving out the zest).
Amanda Rettke. 2014. Blueberry Zucchini Cake with Lemon Buttercream. Available online:

Blueberries and Pasta

I have never actually tried a berry recipe, I have always just made jelly, pies, or pancakes out of the berries that I harvested so finding a pasta recipe with blueberries was really interesting and I thought I would share it with you. Chicken and Blueberry Pasta Salad

Original recipe yields 4 servings
The Ingredients-
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat fusilli or radiatore
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Place chicken in a skillet or saucepan and add enough water to cover; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool. Shred into bite-size strips.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, about 9 minutes or according to package directions. Drain. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, place oil and shallot in a small skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, 2 to 5 minutes. Add broth, feta and lime juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the feta begins to melt, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken to the bowl with the pasta. Add the dressing, blueberries, thyme, lime zest and salt and toss until combined.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Add everything except the blueberries and dressing to the pasta salad. Cover and refrigerate pasta salad, blueberries and dressing separately for up to 1 day. Toss together just before serving.
Nutrition information
  • Serving size: about 1 1/2 cups
  • Per serving: 320 calories; 11 g fat(3 g sat); 5 g fiber; 34 g carbohydrates; 23 g protein; 29 mcg folate; 49 mg cholesterol; 5 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 82 IU vitamin A; 6 mg vitamin C; 68 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 244 mg sodium; 254 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Magnesium (18% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2
  • Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 lean meat, 1 fat

Looking at the site more in depth, I found that it has alot of healthy choices as well as treats. I look forward to trying some of these recipies out in the near future.

Berry ripeness

For someone who has never picked berries before, I found a site that almost gives step-by-step instructions on how/when to pick certain type of berries. I learned a little bit more about exactly when to harvest berries right down to the time of day. Reading through the article by Amy Grant called “Berrie Harvest Time: Best Time to Pick Berries in the Garden” and she said, “The best time to pick berries in the garden is in the early morning hours before the heat builds up in the fruit,” (Grant, p. 5, Gardening Know How). Having harvested berries on my own, I can relate to Grant when she talks about knowing when a berry is ripe enough to be picked. Later in the article, Grant moves on to mentioning what certain berries should look like before picking. For example, she says, “The number one reason for sour blackberries is harvesting too early.”, (Grant, p.6 Gardening Know How). Some berries may seem to look the same all year round, but I’ve learned to pay attention to the texture of the berry and not just color or size. AK Wasilla

Berry Harvest Time: Best Time To Pick Berries In The Garden


Antioxidants in Blueberries

Alaskan blue berries are found to be extra special comparative to blueberries cultivated in the lower 48. Alaskan blue berries were found to have “3 to 5 times higher” higher levels of antioxidants then their southern cousin. Antioxidants have gone through the nutritional “hype” on weather or not you want a lot of them in your body or not, but if you need them, stepping right out your back door is the best place to look!  LF Fairbanks


Dinstel RR1, Cascio J, Koukel S. 2013. The antioxidant level of Alaska’s wild berries: high, higher and highest. Available online: Accessed 14 Sept, 2016.

High bush cranberry – ketchup

High bush Cranberry…..Ketchup?

I attended an extremely small K-8 grade school in Moose Pass, Alaska. When I was in probably 3rd or 4th grade our school went out high bush cranberry picking, most of the kids did not appreciate the berries because of their tartness, but that is when our teacher came up with this brilliant idea. All of the kids loved the smiley face “French Fries”, but we would always go through copious amounts of ketchup when we had them. So our teacher found a recipe to make ketchup out of high bush cranberries. The process for making the ketchup can be tedious, but it is very rewarding and you end up canning it, so it lasts! A very important factor for Alaskan lifestyle of living. Follow the site bellow to learn how to make this delicious twist on your favorite condiment. BE. Moose Pass
Beachcomber, A. 2012. Highbush Cranberry Ketchup. Available online: accessed 14 Sept. 2016.