Thursday, May 11, 2006

Local Foods: Berry Shoots





So I was thinking about local food from this island. And thinking. And thinking. And it seemed every time I thought about it lately I was coming across kids with hands full of salmonberry shoots or hearing kids at the door begging their mom for 'some sugar, please!' or nearly bumping into kids suddenly stumbling out of large berry bushes with translucent green stems in their fingers. DUH!! There was my local food right there!

Every year the children in areas with salmonberry bushes treat themselves to the first taste of the berries before there are berries on the bush. A goodly chunk of the local kids know that the newest shoots on a salmonberry bush are sweet and tender once you pull off the thin thorny outer layer. Within lies a green stem generally between 2 to five inches long. Now you CAN eat them sans the sugar dip favoured by the kids, and no doubt this was the way used in the past, but the kids prefer to eat it with sugar to further enhance the berry taste. I've eaten them both ways and have to say that I prefer them with. The ones without do have a little bit of a astringent nature if eaten in too much quantity. Plus the sugared ones taste more like my preferred orange variety of berries than the more astringent reds.

Now I don't know if people can cook with them or not but I honestly don't know why not. Maybe I'll just have to make something up! Any suggestions?

11 comments:

linda said...

I vote for a jam or jelly!

I never knew you could eat salmon berry stems...

s'kat said...

I'd never heard of these before, but how pretty! Why not make a pie?

iamchanelle said...

pretty pictures!

how about a fresh "berry shoot sorbet" (check out bea's recipe for sorbet at http://www.beaskitchen.com/blog/2006/05/10/cone-et-sorbet-aux-fruits-cone-and-its-fruit-sorbet/)
or a strawberry spinach salad with fresh shoots?
mmm, i wish i could have a taste of those!

Felicia said...

Maybe a pie...I'm thinking something in the rhubarby type. I've never had salmonberries (or shoots) so I'm not sure if they could give the same "punch" as rhubarb. I've eaten a very nice strawberrry rhubarb pie/crumble. Mmmm.
PS: I tried your tuna casserole recipe because Tuna Helper was one of my roommate's and my staple dinners. Your recipe was very good (and healthier than Tuna Helper), it "comforted" me! I liked the zucchini. Unfortunately, I just had plain ole orange cheese on hand and think that the smoked gouda will make it even better. Next time...

Sam said...

I never heard of salmon berries - how cool!!!
Use the stems like rhubarb maybe?

sher said...

I've never heard of them either. It's great to learn about new things. The pictures are wonderful--as usual!

Nerissa said...

linda: I doubt there is even enough for a jar in my fridge right now. :(

s'kat: hmm.. or tarts. They are very pretty in the sunlight.

Iam: Oooh...sorbet! that's a possibility!Especially since the weather just started to warm up

Felicia: I was thinking about the rhubarb type connection but they aren't nearly as sour. I'd be afraid of destroying their delicate perfume. Glad the tuna casserole :D

Sam: Salmon berries are a very subtly flavoured berry. There are three colours: Yellow, Orange and Red. I personally like the Orange because they are the sweetest. You'd think it was the red but it isn't. The new shoots on the bush taste like a lighter version of them.

Nerissa said...

Oops... missed sher: Well, I guess this is a really localized food. If you've grown up in the Pacific Northwest of Canada and the United States you just may know them. Otherwise there's a doubt.

michelle said...

Hi Nerissa! Thank you for your comments on my site while I've been away, and I see that I've missed so many wonderful dishes from your kitchen (that halibut with sorrel sauce sounds amazing!) - plus, I've just missed chatting with you!

Salmon berries are one of my favorite berries! They grow down by the coast where most of my field sites are and I miss them every year until they start coming out! I had no idea you could eat the shoots - yay local!

Nerissa said...

:) Nice to have you back, Michelle. I missed chatting with you too.
I was completely unaware of shoot eating until I came up here to teach. I'd grown up, like most coastal kids, eating them or packing ice cream buckets with them for eating later on. Apparently you can eat thimbleberry shoots too but I've not tried.

Andrea said...

What a great time I have had going threw your recepies, I'm a total food lover and I love to cook...This year I finally took the time something I've always been dieing to do ...Cooking Lessons...I posted a recepie on May 2nd...Le feuilleté d'asperges à la crème de citron vert...this was my first class...I'm so excited for what awaits me...I'll be stopping by more often...bravo once more...