Blueberry Picking

     A popular activity towards the end of summer in Alaska is blueberry picking.  Blueberry bushes grow wild in most of Alaska in a variety of environments, from bog to alpine.  The particular species common in Alaska, the Bog Blueberry, is a small shrub growing up to just 2 feet.  It is a deciduous plant with small pointed leaves that turn a brilliant reddish-purple in the fall, creating a vivid landscape along the hillsides.  The berries are smaller than elsewhere and more tart in flavor.  They ripen in August and, along the Parks Highway near Denali National Park, people can be observed carrying containers, bags and buckets, engaged in harvesting activity.  The blueberry is also a major food source for the grizzly bear.

     Alaska blueberries are used fresh or frozen in baked goods such as muffins, cupcakes and pancakes and also in jams, jellies, syrups, wines and chocolate.  The are delicious raw and often eaten as a snack or as a cereal, ice cream and yogurt topping. 

     Other common berries harvested in Alaska include the cranberry, crowberry, currant and cloud berry. 

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