Sipping my rose hip tea I’ll now tell you all about those mysterious wild berries of Alaska that I found……
On my first walk in the woods here in Salcha I immediately noticed wild berries of Alaska with which I was unfamiliar. I made educated guesses on what they all are, but followed that up with a bit of research to further confirm my guesses before eating them.
I look to my guides that I use for nature study as a starting point. Then I do a general internet search looking for three or four reputable websites that clearly indicate what the plants are. Finally I get confirmation from some of the foraging and plant identification Facebook groups to which I belong. (ideally you should belong to at least one that is based in your local area) Ideally I would back that up with an in person confirmation from someone local, but since we are quarantining I just tripled checked with local facebook groups.
Let me reiterate that when eating something from the wild you need to be 100% confident of your identification 100% of the time. Do not eat something unless you are certain because there are many look a likes out there that can make you very sick.
Clues to look for when identifying a berry:
- leaf shape
- branch pattern
- location of berries on the stem
- seeds in berries
- how many berries in a cluster
- stem color and texture
This list is not exhaustive, but it’s where I start. Finding anything unique and unusual about a plant is really the most helpful part of identifying it.
Now that I am confident in my identification of these mysterious wild berries of Alaska I am ready to try them. I will only try one type at a time and only a single berry just to be sure. Even perfectly safe berries run the risk of an adverse reaction in some people.
One thing I can fall back on is that everyone tells me Alaska only has one type of poisonous berry and it tastes so bad that most people spit it out immediately. I’m not sure if that is true though so I am not going to run about tasting wild berries without a bit of research. (Fun Fact: Not everything you read on the internet is true)
Now that I have eaten them and not died I will share with you what I think they are and how they taste (again, I am not an expert. In fact I am totally new at this and really you shouldn’t trust a word I say– find someone who knows)
Wild Berries of Alaska
So that’s pretty much it for late August wild berry in Alaska (at least in the Salcha area– Alaska is a big state). It’s keeping us entertained during our quarantine.
Fun with Fungi……
Now I’ll leave you with some pictures of the beautiful mushrooms I’ve found here in Alaska. I’m not brave enough to identify these on my own but they sure are lovely to look at.