Before summer leaves, Alaska has one final gift: berries

Published: Aug. 31, 2018 at 12:14 PM AKDT
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I woke-up a few days ago and could smell it. Fall is coming. How quickly we go from those manic days with endless sunshine to cooler gray nights. I can feel winter creeping in. But, first Alaska has one final present for us: blueberries.

My Instagram feed is full of blueberry photos and desserts made with everything berry. There are pies and cakes, muffins and scones. My favorites include stories about the history of the recipe within a family.

My friend Maija Katak Lukin from Kotzebue is a blueberry expert. Here's what's in her berry freezer right now: rhubarb, lingonberries, aqpiks (cloudberries), raspberries from a friend's gardens in Anchorage, blueberries from outside Kotzebue and crowberries from Sisualik. Plus some salmon eggs. Oh, and high-bush cranberries from Campbell Airstrip Road and Chickaloon.

Maija sent me her mom's go-to recipe for "Quick Blueberry Pie" from the Cooking Alaskan cookbook. She says her mom only picks berries (5 pounds last week!) to make the pie.

I asked what other family traditions she has surrounding blueberries. Her answer? Akutuq with berries and carnation milk.

"But, this damn pie is a delicacy!" Maija said.


1 cup sugar

2- 2/12 tablespoons cornstarch

2/3 cup cold water

1/2 cup blueberries

1 tablespoon butter

1tablespoon lemon juice

2 cups additional fresh or frozen blueberries

Baked and cooled pastry shell or grham cracker crust

What to do:

Mix the first seven ingredients in a saucepan and cook until very thick. Fold in the 2 cups of remaining berries and pour into baked pie shell. Let the pie cool, top with whipped cream and serve