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Thread: What type of berries are these?

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    Member Crab_n_fish's Avatar
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    Default What type of berries are these?

    Ok, so I now have the "Alaska Wild Berry Guide and Cookbook," from the Wasilla library. Today I was flipping through the book to identify the berries I found in the woods here on the outskirts of town.

    Pic #1 -- http://img12.imageshack.us/i/031qnw.jpg/

    (Bunchberries or Dogberries?. I am not sure.)
    --

    Pic # 2 -- http://img12.imageshack.us/i/041zda.jpg/

    Are these highbush cranberries or red currants? From an outward appearance these berries appear "milky" inside, semi-translucent and could pass as salmon eggs.

    Can anyone help identify these plants? If needed I can upload better pictures with the leaves shown in a more distinct pose. Thank you.

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    1st pic is bunchberies or dogwood, 2nd is highbush cranberries.
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    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    1st pic is bunchberies or dogwood, 2nd is highbush cranberries.
    I can almost smell the cranberry bushes in the last photo! Funny how we can associate odors with images...!
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    Member Crab_n_fish's Avatar
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    Thank you for the replies! I believe these highbush cranberries do have
    a rather peculiar odor, as I noticed last week when I broke one open to sniff.

    I've read in the book as well as online, that these berries are not suitable for freezing? I've also read it is best to pick 'em before the first frost. A few of the berries I've seen were somewhat wilting; so should I pick now?
    (I found this photo online, which shows 'em as such, shriveling up with a loss of fluid):

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/druclimb/3011934596/

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    Member Crab_n_fish's Avatar
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    Now for some reason I'm finding information that it is okay to freeze 'em! Boy, what a good night of sleep will do for ya!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crab_n_fish View Post
    Now for some reason I'm finding information that it is okay to freeze 'em! Boy, what a good night of sleep will do for ya!
    My wife makes a great BBQ sauce from them, they also make a very good cranberry butter.
    Chuck

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I used to make a pretty good salsa with highbush cranberries. I also recall when my son was younger he'd get a big handful of them, toss em in his mouth, and his face would get all twisted up when the sour taste hit him.

    I don't recall if we ever froze them, I'm pretty sure we did and we never had any problems.

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    I think Dave is right on the first one.
    Bunchberries (Cornus canadensis), the tiniest plant of the dogwood family. These berries are apparently edible according to this source from the University of Alberta. I found that a bit suprising, because most dogwood berries are identified as poisonous. They taste bad and probably don't make a good jam.





    and also the highbush cranberries

  9. #9
    Member Crab_n_fish's Avatar
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    Wow!!! Thanks for the info, guys!


    My cousin and I went to Hatcher Pass and was expecting to see "fields of blue" but didn't...After a few pull-overs and drive-by scouting, we parked near the restaurant and began looking via foot.... My cousin looked at the small plants/bushes he was walking over and said, "Look! We have berries!" Yep, we saw blueberries. And immediately we discovered some kind of small black berries. I wasn't sure what these black ones were, and like a goofball I forgot my berry book at home so I wasn't able to correctly identify 'em! I sampled one and remembered they might be crowberries; and then proceeded to gather a few cups worth. A lady working at the restaurant verified them as such.


    http://s592.photobucket.com/albums/tt9/wasillajay/Hatcher%20Pass%2008-31-2009/


    Notice how full the crowberry bushes were, as of this past Monday morning? It was easy to spot the blueberry bushes, being that the leaves were pinkish and stems were red in color -- in stark contrast to the dark green color of the crow's.


    I just hope I come to like rose hips, being they are large and everywhere just across the street here in Wasilla. I'm just waiting to the first frost to pick 'em.


    I truly appreciate the wonderful responses and pictures. It is so neat to have such great people to share these experiences with!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crab_n_fish View Post
    Ok, so I now have the "Alaska Wild Berry Guide and Cookbook," from the Wasilla library. Today I was flipping through the book to identify the berries I found in the woods here on the outskirts of town.

    Pic #1 -- http://img12.imageshack.us/i/031qnw.jpg/

    (Bunchberries or Dogberries?. I am not sure.)
    --

    Pic # 2 -- http://img12.imageshack.us/i/041zda.jpg/

    Are these highbush cranberries or red currants? From an outward appearance these berries appear "milky" inside, semi-translucent and could pass as salmon eggs.

    Can anyone help identify these plants? If needed I can upload better pictures with the leaves shown in a more distinct pose. Thank you.
    The first pic is a bunch berry. You were right about that one.

    Hate to burst your bubble, but Pic #2 appears to be currants. At first I thought cranberries because leaves of both are about the same shape and both turn red. But currant bushes have bark that peels. Cranberry bushes do not. Also currant berries grow (don't know the technical term) with berries on a longish "string" and cranberries grow in a flattish bunch with stems about the same length. If you were to sample a berry the currants would have many seeds, high bush cranberries only one big flat one. Sorry to be a know it all but it is a noticeable difference.

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    Hate to burst your bubble
    don't worry...you didn't

  12. #12
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Question ID these...

    I've got these guys all over my yard. The first is an opaque red-orange with clusters of numerous berries at the top of a very short plant. The second is a translucent orange that is in pairs on longer stalks.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Default What you got there JOAT...

    are Pumpkins & Squash in your yard...lucky guy!

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    Again.... bunchberries and timberberries. As noted earlier in this thread and in another entitled "berries???" on this same forum header as psted by whitetail1der.

  15. #15
    Member Crab_n_fish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willowite View Post
    The first pic is a bunch berry. You were right about that one.

    Hate to burst your bubble, but Pic #2 appears to be currants. At first I thought cranberries because leaves of both are about the same shape and both turn red. But currant bushes have bark that peels. Cranberry bushes do not. Also currant berries grow (don't know the technical term) with berries on a longish "string" and cranberries grow in a flattish bunch with stems about the same length. If you were to sample a berry the currants would have many seeds, high bush cranberries only one big flat one. Sorry to be a know it all but it is a noticeable difference.
    Since that post I've garnered a lot of advice to "follow my nose" to find highbush cranberries....A single seed inside!....Plus that maple-leaf look!...

    Now that I've had some excellent help from forum members in this thread, and having trekked the woods, I am absolutely positive in what I'm picking...

    South-Central has already had it's first frost, and I now find the lowbush cranberries sweeter to the taste, yet still "mealy" and not as tart. Only thing I question myself now that leaves are falling, is differentiating between baneberries and highbush cranberries....When in doubt, I crush one from a cluster and take a sniff....

    Here is a sample of my berry picking:


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