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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Salmonberry - 'Rubus spectabilis' - fam: Rosaceae

This fruit, Rubus spectabilis, is a member of the Rose family, specifically, the Brambles, and is native to North America's West Coast, from Alaska, to California, and east to Idaho 1.

These tart berries are called 'Salmonberries', not only because they resemble salmon roe, but were actually used to cure the roe slightly, due to no refrigeration, in days of yore.
The salmonberry bush is supported by long thin perennial stalks that go from green to rusty brown. These, along with their height, bright pink flowers and distinctively serrated green leaves makes them pretty easy to spot from a distance. Also unlike the other species, the actual berries that the salmonberry bush produces come in a couple different colours. Some produce berries that will ripen to a deep red, some will stay a bright 'post-it-note' yellow, and some will settle in between with a sunset orange hue. It all depends on the individual bush that you are picking from, so mix it up. The berries ripen in early June and will continue to produce all month long. Check back every couple days and your bushes will reward you with more love.
A perfect berry can be easily identified by it’s size, slightly softened texture and the dark, almost obsidian sheen that slowly creeps into the drupelets (nubs!) as they ripen. Regardless of the base colour of the berry, once that dark glow takes hold, it’s begging to be eaten!
The taste of salmonberries is a little hard to pin down. They are sour, but not overpoweringly sour, and with a light floral-sweet finish that lingers long enough to keep your face from screwing up reflexively. It’s a beautiful balance, and one that is only present in the completely ripe ones. There are also hints of orange peel, spices and wild herbs that you may not find in other berries.
Salmonberries are usually made in jams, or preserves, baked into pies and tarts, or just rendered down to give syrups a little kick. 2
REFERENCES: 1 Wikipedia, and, 2 - 'Eat, Drink, Breathe - Recipes and Reflections from the West Coast'.

Oh, and watch out for BEARS !


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