Category Archives: Recipes

Getting ready for wild blueberries!

This recipe is sure to get you drooling for fresh berry scones. I made them with wild blueberries, and then tried lingonberries– both are great. Also try substituting buttermilk for the heavy cream. Yum!

Blueberry scones



Documenting Change in Nunavut

Here is a thesis that explores climate change through berries near Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada. The program is part citizen science as well as documenting the ethnobotany of the region. It includes great summaries of the most important berries and even some recipes!


What is shrub?

     A new agriculture consumer magazine has come to town,the first edition of Edible Alaska were in readers hands summer 2016 !  I was doing my usual quick thumb thru  when I was handed my personal copy  while I walked thru AG Day 2016 @Palmer Experiment Farm when I came upon the article, Shrub A new Twist on an Old Tradition by Evie Witten.
     What the heck is shrub you say?? Well according to Wikipedia in terms of mixed drinks, shrub is the name of two different, but related, acidulated beverages. One type of shrub is a fruit liqueur that was popular in 17th and 18th century England, typically made with rum or brandy mixed with sugar and the juice or rinds of citrus fruit.
     The word “shrub” can also refer to a cocktail or soft drink that was popular during America’s colonial era, made by mixing a vinegared syrup with spirits, water, or carbonated water. The term “shrub” can also be applied to the sweetened vinegar-based syrup, from which the cocktail is made; the syrup is also known as drinking vinegar. Drinking vinegar is often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices for use in mixed drinks
     The history of Shrub is early English version of the shrub arose from the medicinal cordials of the 15th century.The drink gained popularity among smugglers in the 1680s trying to avoid paying import taxes for goods shipped from mainland Europe: To avoid detection, smugglers would sometimes sink barrels of spirits off-shore to be retrieved later; the addition of fruit flavours aided in masking the taste of alcohol fouled by sea water.As a mixture of fruit and alcohol, the shrub is related to the punch, however punches were normally served immediately after mixing the ingredients, whereas shrubs tended to have a higher concentration of flavour and sugar and could be stored for later use, much like a pre-made drink mixer.The shrub was itself a common ingredient in punches, either on its own or as a simple mix with brandy or rum. It was also served during the Christmas season mixed with raisins, honey, lemon, sherry, rum and other spirits.The shrub was sold in most public houses throughout England in the 17th and 18th centuries, although the drink fell out of fashion by the late 1800s.

     The American version of the shrub has its origins in 17th century England where vinegar was used as an alternative to citrus juices in the preservation of berries and other fruits for the off-season. Fruit preserves made in this fashion were themselves known as shrubs and the practice carried over to colonial America.By the 19th century, typical American recipes for shrubs used vinegar poured over fruit—traditionally berries—which was left to infuse anywhere from overnight up to several days; afterwards, the fruit would be strained out and the remaining liquid would be mixed with a sweetener such as sugar or honey and then reduced to make a syrup.The sweet-and-sour syrup could be mixed with either water or soda water and served as a soft drink, or it could be used as a mixer in alcoholic cocktails.Shrubs eventually fell out of popularity with the advent of home refrigeration.

The serving of vinegar-based shrub drinks became popular again in 2011 and 2012 in American restaurants and bars. The trend has also been noted in bars in Canada as well as London. The acidity of the shrub makes it well suited as anapéritif or used as an alternative to bitters in cocktails. Unlike cocktails acidulated with citrus, vinegar-based drinks will remain clear when shaken.

The reference materials listed at the end were interesting reads for sure, but back to the article in my new magazine edible Alaska that started this blog post.  Shrub A new Twist on an Old Tradition by Evie Witten.  Helen Howarth of Fromagio’s Artisan cheese in Anchorage is bringing this refreshing drink to the local consumers but she shares a recipe how easy its a DIY 3 ingredient start to deliciousness.  1pound of fruits or vegetables,3/4 cup sugar, 314 cup vinegar; chop the fruit or vegetables, place in a bowl with sugar and macerate. cover bowl, refrigerate for a few days, then pour off the juice and add any type of vinegar. shore in corked or closed jar.

Plus as its mentioned making shrubs allows you to use the whole harvest of not just fruits but also crab apples, rhubarb. carrots, herbs, ginger, and many endless more choices.

Cannot wait to experiment with all the new combinations from local freshly harvested produce with a new preserving method. R from Mat-Su Valley

edible Alaska Magazine summer 2016 No. 1, Shrub A new Twist on an Old Tradition by Evie Witten, pg 38

Fruit Soups

Fruit Soup Recipe

2 cups dry red wine 1 cup water ; 2/3 cup sugar ; 2 whole star anise ; 2 cinnamon sticks; 1 (12-ounce) basket fresh strawberries, hulled, sliced;  1 (6-ounce) basket fresh raspberries;  1 (4.4-ounce) basket fresh blueberries;  1 pint vanilla bean gelato or ice cream

Directions: Combine the wine, water, sugar, star anise, and cinnamon sticks in a heavy large saucepan. Add all but 1/2 cup of each of the berries. Bring the liquids to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the fruit is very tender, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly. Discard the star anise and cinnamon sticks. Transfer the berry mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer and into a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, stirring occasionally, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day ahead. Cut the reserved strawberries into small pieces. Place a small scoop of vanilla bean gelato or ice cream in the center of 8 decorative dessert glasses or soup bowls. Divide the mixed berry soup among the glasses, being careful to pour around the gelato. Sprinkle the reserved berries over the soup and serve immediately. Thank you to Giada De Laurentiis for a delicious mixed berry soup with gelato recipe. Doing research on berry information is when I learned that people really do make soup from berries. You can heat it up and use it as a topping or throw some whipped cream on it for a cold topping. Sounds delicious!   AK Fairbanks

Haskap Pie

Pie is one of my absolute favorite desserts and I don’t usually stray far from my favorites apple and cherry, but I found a recipe for haskap pie filling that I would definitely have to try if I ever came across it. I always find that from picking or obtaining the berry yourself, it is always that much more satisfying when you have the finished product!   LF Fairbanks


Haskap berries have twice as much juice in them as any other berry! We have found that frozen berries works better for pie filling instead of the fresh berry. If you use the fresh berry they tend to continue to leak out juice after baked.

4 cups of frozen Haskap berries
1 ½ cups sugar
4 tbsp. cornstarch
¼ cup of strained juice.

  • Place the frozen berries in a colander to thaw and drain overnight.
    • Save the strained juice. One option is to mix the juice with sparkling water on ice with a sweetener of your choice for a refreshing drink.
  • Place drained berries in a medium saucepan with the sugar
  • Bring to a boil , then turn down to a simmer
  • Add the cornstarch to the 1/4 c of juice
  • Add this slowly to the berry/sugar mixture while it is simmering and stir to thicken
  • Cool when thickened and pour into pre baked pie shell


2013. Haskap Recipes. Available online: Recipes. Accessed 19 Oct, 2016.

Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake

Every year around October my church conducts a pie auction fundraiser. While this isn’t exactly a pie, it still sold for over $100, which means you can take the whole thing home! You won’t want to share! This recipe is taken from the Taste of Home Annual Cookbook, 2003 Edition. CM Fairbanks
Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake
1 packaged (12 ounces) frozen blueberries, thawed
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
¼ cup lemon juice
In a food processor or blender, process the blueberries, sugar, water and cornstarch until blended. Transfer to a heavy saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes or until thickened. Set aside 6 tablespoons for filling. Refrigerate the remaining sauce for topping. Combine crust ingredients. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and milk until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Add lemon juice; beat just until blended. Pour half of the filling over crust; top with half of the reserved blueberry sauce. Repeat layers. Cut through filling with a knife to swirl blueberry sauce. Place pan on a baking sheet.

Try Serviceberries

Seeing as how I have never really been or lived in other parts of Alaska I had no idea what the serviceberry was. I found a great source that talks about all things serviceberries. I will include a recipe that I found about serviceberry syrup, yum!

Serviceberry Syrup

1 cup serviceberry juice 2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients 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 1⁄4 inch head- space. Wipe jar rims and add prepared two-piece lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Yield: 2 cups


Dinstel, R. R. and Johnson M. 2012. Serviceberries. Available online: Accessed 12 Oct, 2016.

My Plate My State

Check out this site and an attempt by USDA to encourage local and healthy food choices. It’s a nice concept, but check out the list they include of the common foods produced in Alaska.

  • barley, beef, bison, bread, chicken, crabs, eggs, Herring, milk, oats, pollock, pork, potatoes, reindeer, salmon, scallops, sea urchins, shrimp

My list certainly is longer than that! The only vegetable they include is the potato! Sheesh!

My plate

Cloudberries and cheese

I lived in Finland for aobout 10 months many years ago.  It is there that I first heard of tasted and fell in love with the cloudberry.  One memorable way that we ate them was with Leipajuusto (bread cheese).  Its kind of like a large thin pancake of squeaky cheese.  We would eat little slices of leipajuusto with cloudberry jam on top.  Yummmm!  Here is a link for how to make the cheese:  And here is a link to see how it looks being made and prepped with cloudberries on top! KDicristina, Fairbanks:  Cheese.

Currants in Cooking

I am fascinated by the material on currants as well as the wide variation in taste between black currants, red currants, ect. My grandma has always been obsessed with currants and grows them in Anchorage and Palmer. I’ve enjoyed her currant jam. I don’t think she’s ever tried black currant jam. I will be looking for ‘Swedish Black’ at the Georgeson Botanical Garden plant sale next year.
With such a wide range in sweetness and tartness between cultivars and species, I wonder if at a minimum, the different species require specific recipes? For example, should the recipe state whether or not it is for black currants (Ribes nigrum)or red currants (Ribes sativum)? As opposed to a general “currant” publication or general recipe which is what we currently have at Cooperative Extension. HR Fairbanks
J. Cascio. 2012. Currants. University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. FNH-00115. Available at: Cooperative Extension Service

Sauce for Turkey Day

Speaking of ways to use lingonberries without an overwhelming amount of sugar, I tried Kathy Gunst’s recipe, “Cranberry Sauce with Orange, Ginger, Pineapple and Pecans” last year for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving isn’t too far away, but maybe I’ll make it even sooner just for the heck of it and because it’s so darn good.Kathy Gunst’s recipe combines ginger (fresh and crystalized), maple syrup, pineapple, pecans; orange juice, rind, and zest, and of course cranberries.. She suggests using it on turkey, but if you want to make it more than a once a year condiment, she suggests trying it with a cheese platter or with sweet potatoes as well.

You can find it here: Recipe

And next maybe I’ll try finding a good cranberry chutney recipe.

Gunst, K. 2011. From Notes from a Maine kitchen.  Down East Books.

Berry cake

The image of berries always evokes the summer when recipes for them are abundant everywhere. This recipe came from a family friend and is an easy alternative for cobblers or crisps with a longer bake time. I recommend serving with vanilla ice cream.
1 bag or fresh berries (blue, rasp, or black)
1 Cup sugar (or Splenda)
1 yellow cake mix
2 eggs
½ Cup melted butter
Mix the berries and sugar in a 9×13 pan. In a separate bowl combine the cake mix and eggs. Spread over berry mixture. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350o F for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. CM Fairbanks

Driscoll Website

Driscoll’s  –  I had no idea what this site was, I just saw something about Life & Joy. I was peeking through the website and it is sort of a business/blog where they pick berries and they donate them to food banks and such. They post  recipes as well. I have never actually seen the Driscolls brand at the store, but maybe I should look a little harder, if I see nice berries I usually dont pay much attention to the brand, but maybe I should start. Driscoll’s talks about having the “finest berries” since 1872 because of the way their farmers pick them. I wonder if their is much difference from farm to farm the way they harvest their berries or if it just depends on the area they are in, what kind of soil and how they upkeep it.

Blueberry banana bread

BBBB! This link  goes to a blueberry banana bread recipe. My mom just made fresh banana bread with the blueberries I picked this past fall. She added nuts as well. Something I like to do is heat up a slice in the microwave for about 10 seconds and put some butter on top, the berries taste sweeter and it taste like it just came out of the oven, fresh and moist. Just another example of how we use berries in our lives.

Try fruit leather

I’ve always dehydrated my own fruits, or made jams or jellies, even frozen them for shorter term storage. Never have I had the chance to try and make fruit leathers, I am very interested to try this very easy seeming process. It seems the same as dehydrating, but you don’t have to worry about the presentation factor of dehydrated fruits not always looking very pretty. BE Fairbanks

van Delden, K.2011. Fruit Leather. Available online:    Fruit Leather.  accessed October 5, 2016

Watermelon Berries

This is an informative paper byLeslie Shallcross and Marci Johnson explaining the uses of one of my favorite berries, the Watermelon Berry. Most people I have met don’t like the sweet seedy berry purely because of the skin texture and high seed content. However, I was interested in the uses of this berry in a homestyle sense instead as just a grab and go hiking snack as I usually use them for. This article walks you through storage and uses of a berry that is most often ignored.
   Shallcross, L. and Johnson, M. 2012. Watermelon Berries. Food, Nutrition, Health. Publication FNH-00123. Online: Watermelon berries Accessed: 4 Oct 2016.
This is a video by a Youtuber named Alaskan Urban Hippie. In it she explains how she acquired a Watermelon Berry plant and how to properly identify it. There are some species that look very similar while young that are not edible but poisonous such as False Hellebore. Alaskan Urban Hippie. 2016. Identifying Watermelon Berries (wild and edible).  Watermelon berry ID Accessed: 4 Oct 2016. AA Seward

Highbush cranberry recipes

High bush Cranberries  This article is by author, Corrine Conlon, and in it she presents some interesting information about the high bush cranberry and some of the things she does with it, as well as some of the combinations friends of hers have concocted. She also includes a description of the plant and some of the pros and cons of picking them. Conlon, C. 2016. Gathering Alaska: Juice and jelly from highbush cranberries. Available online Accessed on: 28 Sep, 2016.

How long do berries last?

After every blueberry picking season comes the cleaning, then the eating of the berries! My berries almost always get put into the freezer as soon as they are picked and cleaned. My family and I continuously use and eat the berries until they are gone but something I have started to wonder is do frozen berries go bad? I would think no because my family and I always kept the berries in the freezer for however long we needed. When doing some research online I saw some people say they stay good for 6 months, 8 months, 1 year… So what is true?!

I found an interesting website that talked about the shelf life of berries and how long they are “good” frozen.

” For a long term option, blueberries can be frozen. Spread the berries on a baking sheet and place it in the freezer for about 2 hours then transfer them into a freezer safe bag or airtight container. To defrost, place them into a bowl for about an hour and then use them for baking since they will be soft. Although freezing is an indefinite form of storage, frozen fruit tends to form ice crystals rapidly due to the high water content of fruit. Fruit frozen too long will eventually have more ice crystals than fruit as the blueberries dry out and shrink. ”

The website stated that frozen berries are good for up to 6-8 months. They got their research from credible sources and even though this is good information to know, I’m not sure if I would throw my berries out after 6 months!

Eat By Date. 2012. How Long Do Blueberries Last? Available online: Berry dates. Accessed on 28 September, 2016.

A little spice is nice

       I have a major sweet tooth and love jams and jellies of all kinds. I also love spicy things, put the two together and what do you get? The most delicious hot pepper jellies that’s what. I am blessed to have two good friends who are excellent jam and jelly makers; they both enjoy finding new and interesting recipes and trying them out just for fun. Once and a while, if a jelly does not seal properly, they generously offer it to me and because I couldn’t imagine such wonderful stuff going to waste I eagerly accept their gifts. I will literally eat it on anything my favorites include: crackers, toast, cheese, biscuits, tortillas, chips, right out of the jar; well you get the idea. Sometimes the jam is sooo spicy it is best served on a cracker with a little cream cheese topping the jelly to help cut the burn. This year because of all the beautiful berries around my friends and I made sure to pick as many as we could and a good portion of these were turned into lovely jams. Not all were spicy some were the usual sweet concoctions, but my favorites are the spicy creations which taste so good that even though your mouth is on fire you simply cannot stop eating till the tiny jar is ooops! gone. One of the following recipes uses berries and the other does not call for them, but berries could be added if desired. Here are a few of my favorite recipes if any of you wish to try them; don’t just take my word for it, make and devour these jams yourselves you will not be disappointed. Enjoy!



Cranberry Hot Pepper Jelly 1c. chopped jalapenos 3c. red/green peppers 1c. apple cider vinegar 1 box pectin ½ t. butter 5 c. sugar 1c. cranberries Bring to a boil. When boiling, add sugar and butter. Bring back to a boil for 1.5 min. Process for 10 minutes. For hotter jelly add more jalapenos and fewer bell peppers.


Badass Mango Jalapeño Jam

Prep time    40 mins    Cook time      45 mins     Total time    1 hour 25 mins

This is not a breakfast jam, unless you are really badass. Use it as a glaze on fish, chicken or pork. Spread it on grilled bread and top it with prosciutto, shaved Parmesan and arugula as appetizer. Or half, seed and stuff jalapenos, wrap them in bacon, grill them and slather with Mango Jalapeño Jam. You get the idea…

Author: Adapted from Ball Blue Book

Serves: 8 half pints


  • 4-6 whole ripe mangoes, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups of crushed mango)
  • 6 whole jalapeños, seeded and stemmed (wear latex gloves!)
  • 1-½ cups apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6-½ cups sugar
  • 1-½ package powdered pectin
  • ½ teaspoon butter (optional, it helps reduce foaming)


  1. Crush the mango with a potato masher–I just set the peeled and sliced fruit in a baking pan lined with parchment and mash away. Food process the jalapeños until fine. Add the cider vinegar and process again until smooth. In a large pot combine all ingredients except the pectin and simmer for 30 minutes while sipping a bourbon. Stir in the pectin and bring it to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat immediately. Skim foam and let cool. Carefully ladle into sterilized ½ pint jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Yields about 8 half pints.

Blueberries and Lingonberries in Pie

Blueberry Cranberry (lingonberry) Pie, muffins, anything Mixing about half and half of blueberries and cranberry (lingonberry) pie adds a surprisingly tasty zing. It’s also a nice way to use lingonberries in a pie. If you make an all lingonberry pie, it can be a little overwhelming, but half and half is just about right for my taste. As I mentioned earlier in my post on blueberry and raspberries for breakfast, I prefer not to add sugar to my berries which is part of the reason that I have a hard time using lingonberries. Now that I know lingonberries top the charts in antioxidants, I want to try to incorporate them even more into mine and my family’s diet. Of course, extrapolate from pie, and half blueberries and half lingonberries will do in just about any baked good or jam you are making.

Holloway, P.S., R. Dinstel and R. Leiner. 2006. Antioxidants in Alaska Wild berries. Georgeson Botanical Notes No. 35. Available Online: Berries and Antioxidants