Fireweed, a tall plant with bright magenta flowers, is well-named. Often, it pops up after fires sweep across the forests of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. But wildflower season in the frigid North doesn’t last too long. In fact, many Alaskans say that summer starts when fireweed spurs begin to bloom at the bottom, and the end is near when flowers open at the top. Some intrepid jellymakers are able to capture a little summer color in a jar, by making fireweed jelly.
Dodging the mosquitos, jellymakers pick the petals off the fireweed flowers. After boiling them in water, the juice is strained and lemon juice, sugar, and pectin is added. The result is a glowing, Lisa Frank-pink jelly, with a spiced, aromatic flavor.
Need to Know
Alaska has many fireweed-flavored treats, but jelly is the most common.
Where to Try It
Sam McGee's18 Creek St., Ketchikan, Alaska, United States
Many made-in-Alaska products are offered here, including fireweed jelly.