Salmonberry Jam

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Oh! How lucky we've been here in Juneau!

The Lord has blessed us these last couple weeks with beautiful warm sunny days. And with all the sunshine and warmth, the salmonberries have been red and ripe!

I'd say its time to make some salmonberry jam, wouldn't you agree?

For berry picking adventures such as these, a traditional native Yupik tribe kuspuk was in order! My amazing mother-in-law Melissa sews these amazing dresses (a lot of it by hand!) and it takes hours and hours (I know because I made one as a Christmas present last year for my Aunt Freddie, who is part Eskimo). 

Now that the weather is getting nice and warm I have been able to pull my kuspuks out of hiding and start wearing them again. The ones that I have are older dresses that I took in. They once were worn by my sister-in-law Laura and also Melissa for their shows as the Alaska String Band. I then wore them for shows when I played and sang with them, but now I get to wear them on busy street sides picking berries!
Quinn and I each had a basket and we went to the edge of downtown on the side of the road to find the salmonberries. We were in luck! They were absolutely everywhere!

The only problem?
Stinging nettles and indian rhubarb also covered the steep mountain side...
Can you spy Quinn?
Because we were right next to a busy road, many tourists walked by and called to us asking what we were doing. We must have looked rather interesting, scaling up the steep mountain side (and me in a dress!). But if you've been reading my blog for too long, you probably already know that I don't mind sticking out a bit...

Two kind women who were my age came trooping up the mountain after us! As we saw them coming we called out, "Don't touch the indian rhubarb!" We may have freaked them out a bit, because they wouldn't touch ANY green plants after that. But they did try the salmonberries and they wished us happy picking!

Though we did eat quite a few salmonberries during the evening, we found we had plenty to make some jam! So, our baskets full of berries we journey home and set the water boiling...
One of my goals this summer is to can as much as possible. I've never really canned before, and this was my first time making jam of any sort. I am happy to report that it turned out very well (though the kitchen was down-right hot after both the warm day and all the cooking).

The jars of jam had the night to rest out on the counter, and when we awoke the next morning we had a wonderful breakfast!
English muffins with salmonberry jam, tea and early fresh blueberries on the side. 
I can't think of a more perfect breakfast!

Quinn and I had so much fun making this jam, I think it will have to be a made again next summer as well! And we can't wait for the rest of the blueberry bushes to ripen!

-A Giveaway-
You have often seen me wearing Russian rosemaled brooches here on the blog. When Quinn and I were first married we went to one of my favorite stores in downtown Juneau on our simple honeymoon. Its an old Russian store that sells Polish pottery (someday I wish to own a whole set!) and beautiful matryoshka dolls. I bought my first rosemaled brooch that day and I have gotten two others since! I simply love wearing them, especially with a shawl or on a kuspuk, so I thought I would give you a chance to win one. Please comment below and tell me what you would like to do if you came and visited Alaska. If you'd like to tell a friend about the adventures we have here at Blueberry Barn, I would be very happy, but that is not required to win the giveaway. 

Because of the scrumptious salmonberries, you'll be winning a lovely salmonberry brooch!
Have fun, and I shall announce the winner a week from today.

Thank you everyone for entering my first giveaway!
Jaclyn, you are the winner! 
Again, thank you everyone. I'll have more giveaways in the future. This was fun!


  1. Hi, Emily!

    This is Grace. First, I would be a mermaid and swim in the waters of Alaska, then later visit the lighthouse and the beach. I would love to stay until night and light lanterns and let them sail to the sky, then go back intto the lighthouse in my ghostly white gown and haunt it until dawn.

    1. Grace! If you ever come to Alaska I PROMISE to take you to all of my favorite places. :) And you know, its very easy to make a mermaid tail if you want one for yourself (and I think you would get more use out of it in Texas anyway, ha!).

    2. Also! I think you are a girl after my own heart! We shall have to wear white dresses someday and be ghost apparitions together!

  2. Emily,

    This is Faith. I would love to visit the abandoned mine that you showed on the Alaskan Odyssey DVD.

    1. You would have so much fun there, Faith! If you ever come up, I promise to show you all the cool hidden places in the mine ruins. :)

  3. We were so excited to see your post. We have MISSED you. OOh, your jam looks delicious! What fun picking berries by the side of the road. You kuspuk is beautiful.

    If I visited Alaska, I would love to explore the nature all around your area; It is so breathtakingly beautiful. I would then love to go have a Tasha Tudor picnic, with Greta, of course. Then I'd love to sit on Melissa's porch as the sun is setting and listen to the sounds of Alaska. That, to me, would be the perfect day!


    1. Oh Donna, that would be so much fun! I hope someday you can come up and we can have a picnic together out in the sunshine.

  4. I've missed seeing your posts. Glad you had a chance to write.

    Your kuspuk is lovely and it looks very comfortable. I had never seen this type of dress before.

    How awesome you were able to pick salmonberries! Your jam is beautiful!!!

    If I visited Alaska I would definitely like to visit you, maybe we could even pick salmonberries, then make something special with them and have tea time outside. It would be really cool to see all the places that you've talked about on your blog.

    Thanks for offering this fun giveaway. The brooch is beautiful!!!

    1. Jaclyn, we would have so much fun together if you came up and visited! And yes, a pretty tea time would simply be a MUST! :)

  5. If I could come and visit Alaska? That is a tosser! I think I would take lots of photographs, go camping with great buddies, hike to the tops of mountains, work as a secretarial position somewhere, and swim in glacier waters. Maybe I'd read a blog post from under a twisted-wool blanket at 9:25 in the morning, in Alaska. But, I don't know. That's just a (really good) guess.


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