Tuesday, May 26, 2009
In Season: Salmonberries
I was a little late in starting this blog to hit the real beginning of the salmonberry season, but I can see in my journal that I saw the first brilliant pink petals open on March 1st. (We're actually tracking the appearance of the first blooms each year as one tool to study climate change, so I'm keeping track.) I found this intact flower — and a developing berry as a bonus — in my (very soggy) garden this morning. If the weather finally warms up, the first salmony-orange berries should be ripe in a few weeks. Personally, I find salmonberries a bit insipid and watery, but there's something about seeing the first ones ripe on the bush. I'll nibble a few here and there, but mostly I leave them for the robins, who love them. My kids enjoy them, but I'm holding out for thimbleberries.
One part of the plant, which I will nibble on more, is a fresh shoot, peeled of its thorny skin. Ivy, a friend of my daughter's, taught us how to eat "m'aayi," which has always been an important food for the First Nations' people of the coast.
I haven't heard a Swainson's Thrush yet, but they are said to arrive right about the time the salmonberries ripen. No wonder they're also called the "salmonberry bird."