Salmonberry - seedling
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Salmonberry blossom.
Rubus spectabilis
Salmonberry - seedling

Uses: Fruits, flowers, shoots, leaves
Acquired: 2009
How started:
Source: Wild seedling, from birds or other critters

Native to Edmonds. This seedling appeared in the garden as a volunteer. Perhaps the seed was deposited by a bird that came to eat other berries that grow in my landscape. Unlike raspberry, and other Rubus species, the Salmonberry is a perennial. The leaves drop in the fall.

Salmon berries were an important food for indigenous peoples in the Edmonds area. Traditionally, the berries were eaten with salmon or mixed with oolichan grease or salmon roe. They were not dried because of their high moisture content, although a post on OregonLive says a nice trail snack can be made from berries dried like raisins or mashed and dried like leather.

Many parts of this plant are edible. The flavor of the berries are often called "insipid". They do have a sublte flavor that improves over its ripening season with exposure to higher temperatures. The berries have a range of colors from yellow, to orange, to red. Plants for a Future cites other edible uses for the Salmonberry plant. Young shoots - peeled and eaten raw or cooked like asparagus. This is true for other Rubus, including blackberry, raspberry and thimbleberry. The shoots are harvested in the spring as they grow above the soil and while they are still tender. Native people cooked the shoots over coals in a firepit. Flowers are eaten raw, such as in a salad. The leaves are used as a tea substitute, either fresh or dried. Be sure to dry completely because wilted leaves amy contain toxins. OregonLive says Salmonberry leaves make delicious tea, especially when mixed with fresh strawberry leaves.

How about Salmonberry Wine? At $23 per bottle online, it must be good. Here is a description, "A semi-dry wine made from wild salmonberries, handpicked on Kodiak Island. This wine's tantalizing bouquet offers spicy tones of cinnamon, clove and vanilla. Fruity and medium-bodied, this wine balances the rich sweetness of the salmonberry with a pomegranate, butter and vanilla finish." Really? guess I will have to try making that myself. One of the most creative uses of Salmonberries is to turn the juice into mead (http://mysticwicks.com/archive/index.php/t-159744.html).


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