Hiking through most coastal forests in British Columbia, you’re likely to encounter thick, leafy salal bushes or Gaultheria Shallon. In the spring delicate bell-like flowers, white or baby pink in colour, hang in linear herd of five to fifteen. In early summer, the blooms transform into berries that reach their peak flavour and a blackish, deep purple colour from late July to mid-September.
Meet salal berries, B.C.’s unsung hero of coastal berries. It’s one of the province’s most plentiful, delicious and under appreciated wild edibles…. Read more on Edible Vancouver & Wine Country High Summer edition.
This spring I had the privilege of writing about the allure of salal berries, the little-berry-that-could that many overlook after gorging on their more juicy, sour, sweet or showy berries. Last year after tasting both salal jelly and raisins baked into a hearty loaf of rye here on Haida Gwaii, I decided to do some more research. What I found was a berry long appreciated by many BC First Nations, and more recently loved by B.C. chefs and distillers alike.
So stop by one of your fine foodie establishments in the Lower Mainland or Okanagan and turn to page 39 to learn more.
Bonus: try this delicious cocktail I invented after nabbing a bottle of Odd Society Spirits‘ Salal Gin, a wonderous spirit distilled with….you guess it, salal berries from Haida Gwaii.
Salal Gin Refresher
1 oz Odd Society Spirits Salal Gin
2 sprigs mint
A few ice cubes
Two slices of cucumber
A throw of either salal berries or saskatoons for garnish
3 oz of Perrier.
Muddle Gin, mint, cucumber. Add ice cubes. Splash with Perrier. Garnish with berries. Enjoy!