Cornell Berry Diagnostics

The Cornell Cooperative Extensions Berry Diagnostic Tool is an excellent resource for anyone growing or interested in strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants, and gooseberries. This online tool allows anyone to select a berry crop and then from a variety of descriptions of plant growth issues, deformities, discolorations, damage, or other indicator that occurs on the whole plant, flower, fruit, or vegetative to continue to diagnose the issue. Lots of photographs and links to in depth articles are included about many diagnoses to really get to the “root” of the issue. Finally, recommendations for management of the issue can be selected after referring to the images and descriptions
Citation: Cornell Cooperative Extension. 2016. Cornell Fruit Berry Diagnostic Tool. Available online: Diagnosis. Accessed: 12 October 201

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

Bog Blueberries for Health

“Bog Blueberry anthocyanins alleviate photo-aging in UV B irradiation-induced human dermal fibroblasts.”

The fruits of the bog blueberry plant are rich in anthocyanins that contribute pigmentation and the relief/prevention of several chronic diseases. Several studies show bog blueberries remarkably suppress collagen degradation as well as inflammatory response in the skin cells which allow for connective tissue and healing/recovery after injury. The edible berry shows proof it can be protective against skin damage!
Bae, J.-Y., Choi, J.-S., Han, S.J., Ju, S.M., Kang, I.-J., Kang, Y.-H., Kim, S.J., Lim, S.S., Park, J. 2009. “Bog Blueberry Anthocyanins Alleviate Photo-Aging in Ultra-Violet B Irradiation-Induced Human Dermal Fibroblasts.” Molecular Nutrition and Food Research 53(6): 726-738.

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.

Salmonberry uses

Salmon berry plants bark and leaves can be cooked down for tea to treat diarrhea or dysntery. The branches are also used  Pena,D. Salmonberry: Food, Medicine, Culture – Part 1. Available online: Salmonberries.  Accessed 19 Oct, 2016.

Maxine Thompson and her haskaps

This article highlights the life of Maxine Thomson for her contribution to breeding of and popularizing the Haskap.  She seems to be a rather amazing woman and this is a delight and an inspiration to read!
Martin, S. 2016.  Sweet Success.  Available Online: Maxine Accessed 17 Oct 2016.

Beyond Beautiful

   The more I learn about fruit bearing shrubs and plants the more I want to learn. Being able to grow one’s own food is very important to me. I want to know what I am putting into my plants so that I know what I am eating and feeding to my family. I am blessed to live in a state where much of its natural beauty is still very much preserved and undisturbed. My home is surrounded by mountains and forests; these expansive wilds were and still are my playground. As I grow older I am learning how important everything around me truly is and how all things have an effect on each other. This is especially true in our great forests for they are a truly impressive ecosystem and even small changes can have extensive repercussion. I have always loved Alaska’s native landscapes; its trees, flowers, berry plants and shrubs all have a special place in my heart.
   In the garden around my house I am slowly planting Alaskan perennials so that I can tend the beauty of a wild forest or meadow right at my door step. Taking care of perennials has its own set of methods and complications. Perennials naturally have many different considerations than annuals and wild perennials can be especially picky about growing conditions, soil content, and other habitat considerations.
In the past if I had a question about how to grow a particular flower or tree in my yard I would ask a neighbor lady; she had lived in Alaska for years and was full of knowledge on all things green and growing. Her entire yard and garden where in fact a series of perennial beds that were full of Alaskan wildflowers which she had found and propagated herself. Many an afternoon I would find her out in the flower beds pulling weeds and happily caring for each plant. She knew exactly where and what everything was in her beds even before they came up. She has since moved away from the area and I must now seek out advice elsewhere.
   I have recently read an article about creating edible landscapes. I find this entire idea intriguing; not only would one enjoy the beauty of flowering shrubs and plants all summer but when the time was right a harvest of great variety would come. These crops could be eaten fresh or processed and stored for the winter. The plants then serve two purposes: providing beauty along with pollen and nectar for good insects, and providing a food source for their caretaker. This sounds like a wonderfully efficient way to create a garden or landscape. The information that I have found recommends that if you are starting from scratch to begin by planning how you want the landscape roughly to look. Plan where the trees and shrubs will be first and then add in smaller plants. Berry trees were my first though for creating an edible landscape but smaller edibles such as herbs, and flowers should not be discounted. These plants can add color and variety when planted near fruit bearing shrubs. Vegetables that are colorful or interesting can also be interspersed with the herbs and edible flowering plants ( As with any landscaping project make sure to plan where each perennial will go depending on each plants needs and characteristics. A detailed plan will ensure a balanced landscape that will provide food all growing season. I am just an amateur enthusiast and would have to, out of necessity, start small with any endeavor to start turning my yard into an edible landscape. I am very impressed by the article put out by Rosalind Creasy; she is an expert and her creations are just lovely. The designs are way beyond my abilities but do show how diverse landscaping with edible plants can be. The Virginia Berry Farm page is also very detailed and explains clearly how best to go about planning and starting an edible landscape.
   I have many ideas now too many in fact. Winter is a good time to think of new and different things to try next spring in my garden. Now as the days grow colder and the nights longer I will research, plan, and create, at least on paper, some designs for my yard. Instead of planting lilacs I can plant Saskatoons or Haskaps. Instead of putting in another delphinium or poppy border I can put in some herbs for cooking and a border of strawberries. The soil in my yard is not very good so until I can focus on improving it, some of my new shrubs could be planted in large pots or raised beds; the same goes for herbs and lettuces all will grow well in pots. I am excited about redesigning my yard. I have wanted to landscape it for some years now but just could not find a design I liked. My new designs will include some edibles and who knows what else, the possibilities are endless. AB Delta Junction
Virginia Berry Farm. Edible Landscaping. virginiaberryfarm. Available Online: Accessed Oct. 19, 2016
Marion O. in a newsletter called Up Beet Gardener. How to landscape with edible plants. PlanTea, Inc. Available Online: Accessed Oct.19, 2016
Rosalind C. 2009. Edible Landscaping Basics. Rosalind Creasy Edible Landscaping. Available Online.