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Salal - Gaultheria shallon. Tips and recipes?

 
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I found a new berry spot this winter and it is even more abundant than I realized back then. Its especially rich in Salal berry, which I've been told are excellent and similar to blue berries. I'll be getting the first ripe ones here in the next few weeks and am planning to also do a big haul in a month or so when there are bunches of them. Has anyone ever harvested and preserved Salal berries? Any recipes or serving suggestions?
 
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I love finding plants I never heard of before.  I found out a lot about Salal - Gaultheria shallon

I read that the berries were not merely edible but had a surprising depth of flavor. I read that they tasted like sweet blueberries with a hint of Concord grape, and were not too seedy.



You can make wine with them:



And jam:



It said they were good right off the bush.


 
s. lowe
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Yea Anne, our plan is jam and dehydrated for use in baked goods/oatmeal. Hopefully I will get pies out or the bargain too
 
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Sounds like an awesome wild plant!

Some info from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaultheria_shallon

native to western North America

Gaultheria shallon is tolerant of both sunny and shady conditions at low to moderate elevations

The dark blue berries and young leaves of G. shallon are both edible and are efficient appetite suppressants, both with a unique flavor. The berries were a significant food resource for native people, who ate them fresh and dried them into cakes. They were also used as a sweetener, and the Haida used them to thicken salmon eggs. The leaves of the plant were also sometimes used to flavor fish soup.[1]

More recently, G. shallon berries are used locally in jams, preserves, and pies.[1][3] They are often combined with Oregon-grape because the tartness of the latter is partially masked by the mild sweetness of G. shallon.



Wish we had it here in the eastern US!
 
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It grows wild all over our 5 acres. It gets ripe right around the time that I get super busy, so I never really get a chance to harvest it.  If anyone lives near Bellingham, WA you're welcome to come pick some or dig some plants up (but I hear it doesn't like to be transplanted, but you are welcome to try).
 
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s. lowe wrote:I found a new berry spot this winter and it is even more abundant than I realized back then. Its especially rich in Salal berry, which I've been told are excellent and similar to blue berries. I'll be getting the first ripe ones here in the next few weeks and am planning to also do a big haul in a month or so when there are bunches of them. Has anyone ever harvested and preserved Salal berries? Any recipes or serving suggestions?



I love salal! I have most often munched it while hiking, or used it in making very tasty jams. I found it had just a hint of the wintergreen flavor of it's cousin, Gaultheria procumbens.

When I relocated to Ireland from the US I was delighted to find that salal is much used and respected as  landscape plant (also used in the UK). Folks there had no idea it was edible.

Factoid: commercial "lemon leaf" sold by florists is actually salal.
 
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SALAL looks like a southeastern tree/strub, Vaccinium arboreum
Common Name(s): Farkleberry/Sparkleberry. which is a smaller  fruit than a blueberry, it is gritty because it is full of tiny seeds.
The bark is a bright cinnamon color, that darkens to gray with age. The leaves are round & bright glossy green.
The trunk is crooked & sometimes use as a walking sticks.
 
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Location: Vancouver
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s. lowe wrote:I found a new berry spot this winter and it is even more abundant than I realized back then. Its especially rich in Salal berry, which I've been told are excellent and similar to blue berries. I'll be getting the first ripe ones here in the next few weeks and am planning to also do a big haul in a month or so when there are bunches of them. Has anyone ever harvested and preserved Salal berries? Any recipes or serving suggestions?



Do test them for spotted wing fruit fly.  Harder to detect in salal.  I haven't seen them in oregon grape though - they've got no balls.  (That's a fruit fly joke - their testicles are enormous.)

Often things are mixed with Salal, because it's not the most fragrant of berry.  It fleshes things out very well and unobtrusively.


 
Geoff Colpitts
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At times I use the medium-young leaves as a tea - not the super green ones, but not the old ones either.  With milk, like earl grey.
 
Geoff Colpitts
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I've often wondered what would happen if I used the leaf in place of a bay leaf.  Just a pipe dream.
 
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I do the combination of salal and Oregon grape or Washington holly berries.  The skin of the salal berries will give a dark to black color to preserves if that is desired.
The plant spreads by roots underground, therefore can be propagated by dinging up some roots and transplanting them; best along the edge of a hedge row. Can be mowed to maintain low height.
 
Geoff Colpitts
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Hans Quistorff wrote:I do the combination of salal and Oregon grape or Washington holly berries.  The skin of the salal berries will give a dark to black color to preserves if that is desired.
The plant spreads by roots underground, therefore can be propagated by dinging up some roots and transplanting them; best along the edge of a hedge row. Can be mowed to maintain low height.



Just to be clear, he means "a.k.a." Washington Holly berries.  Not "Oregon grape, or English holly berries", which would kill you.  
 
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