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?