Last week we had a midnight jam session – Alaska style. Meaning: we picked about 10 quarts of wild salmon berries and made some homemade jam while rocking out to Beyonce.
Salmon berries, which are about 2-3 times as big as raspberries (and equally large seeds), made an early appearance this year due to the mild winter. Being the competitive person that I am, I wanted to make sure that I got out before everyone else ate all of the berries…so as soon as they ripened, I was ready!
Salmon berries are pretty common around here and apparently less interesting for the locals. Blueberries and Nagoon berries, however, are all the rave. People get really serious about their berry spots, and it is apparently rude to even ask others where they go to pick their goodies. Oh, Cordova…
I couldn’t find the recipe that I wanted…so I tried to piece together pieces of different recipes I found online that matched my memory. I also thought I was supposed to use gelatin instead of pectin (oops) but it all worked out in the end.
Hot tip to thicken jam that comes out a little syrupy (courtesy of Jam Master Brenda): add chia seeds!!
Here is the process in photos, from berry bush to jam jar 🙂
There are three varieties of salmon berries here: red, pink, and yellow. I think the yellow are the sweetest.
After filling my bucket (and then filling Liz’s and Annabelle’s buckets) we were ready to head home and make jam.
Step 1: wash berries and sterilize jars.
Step 2: mash up the berries to strain the juice away from the seeds.
Step 3: heat to a rolling boil with sugar, lemon juice and pectin (NOT with gelatin)
Step 4: I like to seal the jars the easy way by inverting them. Our jam/jelly (because almost all of the seeds were strained out) was mostly a success. And…we have about 10 more cups of juice in the freezer to make the next batch, ready to go!
Do you have a salmon berry jam recipe or hot tips? Let me know!