The Noble Nagoonberry

[from 2011]

Some of you wanted to know what a nagoonberry was, so photo above is this berry of kings in the wild. It is a secretive little fruit, hiding its light in the deepest, darkest recesses of the forest, usually under air cover of a hundred or so squadrons of mosquitoes. That’s per plant.

On occasion, if I’m very, very good, my Cordova cousins will send me a jar of nagoonberry jelly for Christmas. What I’d really like to do is dig up a few plants and see if I can get them to grow in Homer, but anyone with a nagoonberry patch is not only never going to tell you its location, they’d hamstring you before you even got your trowel out.

I asked my cousin Deb if she’d send me a photo of a jar for this post, and she said she was sorry but they’d eaten it all. Can’t say I really blame them.

Instead, click here to read the nagoonwiki.

Many consider it to be one of the tastiest fruits in the world: for instance in Russian its name is the “berry of kings” (княженика).

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9 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Hi! If you want to grow a similar berry in your garden, there´s a “new” hybrid between your Nagoonberry (Rubus arcticus ssp. stellatus) and our scandinavian berry Åkerbär (Rubus arcticus), which is similarily treasured by those of us who have a secret patch… (probably identical with the russian one).
    The hybrid is called Allåkerbär (Rubus stellarcticus), and comes in four varieties: ‘Anna’, ‘Sofia’, ‘Beata’ and ‘Linda’. You need at least two different varieties to get berries.
    The hybrid was created to make it possible to grow them in gardens, impossible with wild plants, at least of our Åkerbär.
    The tastiest berries I’ve ever tried (though I love mulberries almost just as much)! The hybrid is a bit more sour than our wild variety, but the aroma is the same = beautiful! I grow them on my balcony. They prefer acidic soil, so I’ve also begun to plant them as a ground cover under Rhododendron and conifers (I’m a landscape architect). Love them!

  2. In the 80s, my husband and I visited Vancouver a couple of times, and were lucky enough to eat at a one-of-a-kind restaurant. It featured the food from Northwest Indians, although I don’t remember any specific tribe. While beautifully prepared, the food was essentially true to its roots. One of my favorite dishes was a sort-of ice cream made from almost bitter berries. The waitress said it would be an “acquired taste”, but I absolutely loved it. I wonder if it was made from a nagoonberries…

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