Thursday, September 11, 2008

Salmonberry Jam

Lowland salmonberries may be long gone, but up in the mountains they're peaking right now. Last week I gathered a few cups above 3,500 feet—enough to make two half-pint jars of jam.

Though not as flavorful as some other Rubus berries such as thimbleberries, blackcap raspberries, and blackberries, salmonberries are gorgeous to look at. Ripened berries vary in color from bright orange to red to purple, sometimes on the same bush. Why this is so is a mystery to me.

I used this jam recipe, with the addition of pectin. Salmonberry jam takes more effort and patience than thimbleberry jam. Unlike thimbleberries, salmonberries don't want to cook down or thicken with sugar. I ended up using a potato masher to speed along the process, and even then the sugar-berry mix was thin and runny. In the end I added a tablespoon of pectin to get a jammier consistency.

It's not quite the delicacy that thimble jam is, but I'll take it. More arrows in the quiver.


jenny said...

Awesome blog! I am making salmonberry jam tonight. I picked 12 cups in our backyard today. I've hunted all over town for them and then I realized we had a giant patch right here. I'll be following you as I am sure we have a lot of the same forage-able foods up here in SE Alaska.

Anonymous said...

sweet! this recipe is great!I live in southeast ak. too! and we have tons of salmonberries right in our backyard i never realized how easy it could be to make such delicious jam!

Jeff Resta said...

I just made salmonberry jam for the first time today, using your recipe; I made several small batches, and I'd like to offer the following suggestions.
Salmonberries are already pretty sweet, and they're not very tart compared to raspberries. The best way to bring out their flavor seems to be to cut down on the sugar (adding more pectin to compensate), and add a bit of citric acid to give it some tang. For each cup of frozen berries, I used 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp. powdered pectin, and a pinch of citric acid. I cooked it longer, as well, just until I saw it start to thicken up. The jam is really nice, with a fruity-woodsy flavor that's unlike any other berry I've tasted.

Sarah said...

How did you manage to find Thimbleberries to enjoy? They're so delicious but seemingly scant.

Great Salmonberry recipe; thanks for sharing! It's a berry that, I think, is underrated. I figured that pectin is a must-use when making this jam, as the berries are so delicate (and can get "mushy").

Anonymous said...

I'm having trouble finding a recipe which indicates how much water to boil the berries and sugar with. Help!

Langdon Cook said...

Anonymous - No water necessary. See some of the other comments for additional input.

The Teaguy said...

great foraging,

just picked about 8 litres of plump and almost squishy berries behind my house here in North Van and they are now stewing in the pot as I make jam.
I will incorporate the advice of the other posters here.

I think that not only do salmon berries resemble the colour of salmon flesh, but the large plump fruit hanging off the bush can look just like a roe sac.

- no wonders bears go nuts for them!

Rod Burns said...

I'll pick / process about 150 lbs. of Salmonberries per year. A portion goes for bottled juice, wine and Salmonberry Butter

Use Pomona Pectin for low sugar, no sugar or Honey - Superior product to other pectins.

Use a sieve / hand turned food press to remove the seeds, leaving an amazing pulp!