Red Salmonberry

We have been (and are still) anxiously awaiting the blackberry harvest here in Vancouver.  We have some big plans for those blackberries – gobbling them up as we pick them, over ice cream, cobbler… can’t wait…

Then, two weeks ago, our friend Ellen Bermingham reported a mother and two kids picking berries in Pacific Spirit Regional Park during her afternoon run.  What were they doing?  It is way too early for blackberries.

Yellow Salmonberry

On Saturday, we saw what looked like yellow raspberries while hiking in Capilano River Regional Park with Tim Ryan and Rissa.  And yesterday, Mark saw several groups picking what turned out to be salmonberries on his mountain bike ride through Pacific Spirit Park.  Aha!  Salmonberries (rubus spectabilis).  Who knew?


Today, we grabbed what containers we had and hopped on my scooter to go berry picking.  A mother and two kids (perhaps the same ones that Ellen saw?) were already at one spot close to the road.  We forged on further ahead, wading into thorny thickets yet untouched.  We found both the yellow and red fruit – enough to fill the three containers that we had brought, hoping that we had at least 6 squashed cups worth.

Boiled with sugar and pectin

The flavors are very delicate – the yellow different from the red.  The juice runs clear.  There is no discernible smell.  (Mark describes the smell as “forest”.)

Salmonberry jam

We emptied out all the jam and mustard jars we had, sterilized them, decided on a fruit to sugar ratio, boiled the fruit with sugar and pectin, filled the jars, boiled them once more to create a vacuum seal and viola – our first attempt at jam.


4 Responses to “Salmonberries”

  1. 1 Lynda Saxton July 22, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    I remember picking SALMONBERRIES in the high forest in and around Puget Sound, WA and the berries salmon colored and were as big as my thumb and so very delicious That was in late 1965. I now live in Spokane and have not see them on this side of the mountains.

    But I can still remember the sweet taste and smell of those berries. I mixed them with raspberries and made a cobbler to die for. Such good memories.

  2. 2 yoomilee July 23, 2008 at 5:33 am


    We are kicking ourselves for not having picked more while the picking was good and freezing them for the fast approaching eventuality when all the jam is gone. Oh well, will have to wait for those blackberries…

  3. 3 Masami Kikuchi (male Japanese) June 28, 2010 at 1:08 am

    I am organizing a talk show in Tokyo, on the topic of “salmon” and “salmonberry”.
    I wonder if I can purchase some of the salmonberry jam to be shipped to Tokyo.
    Could you give me any information that I can realize this shipment?

  4. 4 kteieaaahrnjr October 24, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    i grew up in Sitka, Alaska and we had wild salmonberries in our yard. they have the most distinct flavour and you’ll never forget it.

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