Friday, May 23, 2014

Wild Berries in Bloom - Part 1

I thought I should write a few short posts on the wild berries that around out here.

This is the salal in bloom. The leaves are used in the floral industry - they are waxy & stay green year round out here. The plants will grow practically anywhere & if in the sunshine, they will produce fruit.

As the fruit sets & ripens, these little bells fall off & the fruit grows in place. Starting in August, they will be a dark purple colour.

The easiest way to harvest them is to pick the entire cluster as the fruit is rather soft & you'll just end up with mush between your fingers. The flavour is unusual - I often try to describe it as a subtle nutty flavour, but once you cook it & add sugar, it changes into something magical. Jelly is the best way to go - the fruit is rather mealy, so cook & strain the fruit to get just the juice & flavour. Pair it with some good cheese & crisp apple or pear slices & you'll never go back to peanut butter & jelly sandwiches!

I've made wine from salal berries too & am pretty sure if the neighbours heard I was making more, they'd come bang down my door for a bottle!

I'll share more on salal as they start to ripen later in the season.

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