It’s that time of year in Alaska. Berry-picking season is upon us.
As the sun wanes daily from Port Heiden’s sky, local vegetation is pushing all the harder for every ounce of growth. The plants seem to bloom faster this time of year, as if they know their survival depends on aggressively soaking up the solar rays during the day and growing prodigiously at night.
Come late August, the sweet fruits of the tundra start to pop. Every hummock and tussock is awash with crimson cranberries, bright red lingonberries, black crowberries, and (my favorite) blueberries.
Oh, divine blueberry bloom: harbinger of winter, stainer of flesh and cloth alike, packed with Vitamins C & K (much like Louis C.K.), filled with fibers. We adore thee, little blueberries.
Sometimes pockets or plastic bags are used as short-term storage during picking periods. Other times, the goodness gets thrown right into hungry mouths. Either way, expect blue juice all over your fingertips, lips, and tongue for days to come.
What follows from these harvests is nothing short of delightful. Delicious jams, preserves, and jellies are prepared for breakfast spreads; while cobblers, pies, and crisps warm the soul after succulent suppers.
Coincidentally, this is also moose, caribou, and silver salmon season on the Alaska Peninsula. So no one is hurting for incredible fall fare from the wilds.
Only one question remains: how much can be saved for winter? Cause storing supplies for later means exerting some self-discipline today. While this is not my forte, one must respect the approaching snows.
Thank goodness for huge freezers and vacuum-sealing contraptions.
Thanks for tuning in, more foraging tales on the horizon. Fungus, beach greens, and more abound!