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Gardentalk – Juice, jams, jellies and pie. Oh, my!

These salmonberries recently picked from North Douglas may be enough for a few pies or a homebrew.
These salmonberries recently picked from North Douglas may be enough for a few pies or a homebrew. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

What can you do with all those berries you just picked?

Master Gardener Ed Buyarski said there are plenty of things you can make out of the blueberries, cherries, salmonberries and other berries found around Juneau.

Buyarski said homebrewers may be able to make homemade wine with some yeast from a homebrew shop or supplier.

“I’ve had some real good red currant wine,” Buyarski said. “The wild stink currants makes some surprisingly good wine.”

Buyarski just finished making natural juice by putting a little water or apple juice in a stove pot and cooking the berries or cherries until he could gently squeeze out the juice. He advises using a colander to strain out the clear juice instead of running berries through a crank grinder, which will leave more pulp in the juice. He’s heard of berrypickers who’ve used their own juice to flavor their homemade kombucha.

Jams and jellies are always a favorite. Buyarski said gelatin or pectin packets usually contain directions and recipes for the novice jammer or jelly maker.

“And, of course, there’s a YouTube video for everything,” he said.

My personal favorite is frozen yogurt, which I make almost every season from salmonberries picked from the bushes in my yard.

Not sure what to make right now? Stick those berries into a freezer bag and freeze them for now.

And don’t forget pie. Buyarski reminds novice bakers to add enough sugar and corn starch to sweeten and thicken the pie filling.

“Apples are going to be ready here. In fact, some of them are already ready for pie,” Buyarski said. “They are so early this year.”

Listen to the Aug. 1 edition of “Gardentalk.”

Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he’ll answer your question in an upcoming segment.

Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the “Gardentalk” page, so you’ll never have to worry about missing Thursday’s live radio broadcasts.

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