August 1, 2009

Backyard Berry Garden

Alaska is a land of abundance.  There are so many delicious wild berries and plants that can be used for pie, jam or jelly, syrup, and tea  (among other things).  Here’s just a few of the goodies we find in our backyard.


Rosehips – These pods are full of tiny seeds, but are loaded with vitamin C.  They make an excellent jelly or syrup. 



Highbush Cranberries  – These delicious berries are great for making jams and jellies.  They do have a seed, so they’re not ideal for raw use.



Lowbush Cranberries - Because lowbush cranberries don’t have seeds, they’re great for raw use.  They are easy to find and gather with a berry-picker and are a great source of vitamin C.  They are small but they pack a tangy punch.


Berry-pickers are a must-have tool to make gathering berries a more efficient process.  The teeth allow you to pick a lot of berries at once without taking the stem and leaves with it.IMG_1452



Labrador – The aromatic leaves of this cold-loving plant can be used to make a tea to relieve colds, asthma, and stomachache. 


Yarrow – Not only is it an attractive, fragrant flower used for dried arrangements, but it also makes a great tea infusion that fights colds, fevers, and high blood pressure. 



Fireweed – The beautiful pink blossoms of the fireweed plant can be used to make one heck of a delicious jelly!  Fireweed tends to grow in burnt areas (hence the name) and open clearings.  The peak season is mid-July and when the blossoms are finished doing their thing, it’s pretty  much Fall in Alaska.






  • Angus

    Wow, you really are living the good life, fishing, hunting and foraging! I’m off this weekend to my parents’in Wales for my own spot of fishing and foraging and I am intrigued by your fireweed jelly. We get fireweed in the UK (we call it rosebay willow-herb) and I wondered what your Jelly tastes like and have you got a recipe I could have? I’d loved to give it a go.

    Thanks and loving the pup pics.


    • alaskanarcticexpeditions

      Hi, Angus. Here’s the recipe I use. Good luck and let us know how the ‘rosebay willow-herb jelly’ turns out!

      Fireweed Jelly

      8 cups fireweed blossoms
      1/4 cups lemon juice
      4 1/2 cups water
      2 packages of pectin
      5 cups sugar

      Boil blossoms for 10 minutes in water and lemon juice. Strain and cool to lukewarm, then add 2 packages pectin and bring to a boil. Add sugar and bring to full boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Pour in jars and seal. Boil in jars for 10 minutes.

  • Angus

    Thanks Andrea, I’ll let you know how it goes.