What are salal berries?

The name “salal” comes  from the Native American Chinook language.  The berries were historically an important staple of Pacific Northwest Native American diets.

If you’ve hiked in a coastal forest in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, or California, you’ve likely encountered salal’s bright-green oval leaves and small bell-shaped flowers.  Salal berries look like deep purple blueberries when they’re ripe, between midsummer and early fall, and taste a bit like concord grapes.  We make our fruit spread with less sugar than many preserves to allow the natural flavors of salal berries, spruce tips, and blueberries to shine. 

Research led by the University of Victoria plant biologist Peter Constabel has shown that salal is an “antioxidant superstar”, packed with higher levels of health-promoting plant chemicals than most other berries.  Studies have suggested that antioxidants are associated with a reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative disease.

What’s “wild” about your Wild Salal Berry Spreads?

The wild-foraged ingredients in our fruit spreads are salal berries and, in the case of our Wild Salal Berry and Spruce Tip Spread, spruce tips.  These ingredients are accompanied by organic lemon juice, organic cane sugar, and pectin.  We use organic blueberries from Our Table Cooperative in Sherwood, Oregon in our Wild Salal Berry and Blueberry Spread.

What's special about foraged foods?

Foraged ingredients such as wild berries are among the world’s most sustainable foods; they are rain-fed rather than irrigated, they don’t rely on synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or genetically-modified seeds, and wild foods grow without soil-tilling or clearcutting, allowing the ecosystems they are found in to store carbon.

While many people value Pacific Northwest forests for the timber they produce, our forests provide a wide array of economic benefits to society far beyond just wood products. They store carbon, purify our air, supply rural communities and cities alike with clean water, provide habitat to aquatic and terrestrial animals, inspire tourism, and feed us with wild ingredients like mushrooms and berries.
Our mission is to promote conservation while celebrating the many valuable products and services temperate rainforests provide us with.

Does Canopy and Understory's salal berry harvest take away food from wild animals?

The team of harvesters we partner with near the town of Forks in Washington State harvest salal berries primarily from national and state forests and from willing private landowners. The harvesters collect a small portion of the salal on the property, leaving plenty for wildlife.

While we are proponents of harvesting wild foods, we encourage foragers to do the necessary research to ensure they collect forest foods sustainably, legally, and respectfully. We recommend Douglas Duer’s book, Pacific Northwest Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alaska Blueberries to Wild Hazelnuts.

Where are Canopy and Understory Wild Salal Berry Spreads made?

Our berry spreads are made in copper pots in a small commercial kitchen in Portland, Oregon dedicated to traditional preserve-making techniques. The kitchen is a nut-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free facility.

What’s the difference between a “berry spread” and jam?

Jam usually has a sugar content of 60% or higher. When we developed our berry spreads, we decided to use less sugar to allow the flavor of the salal berries and other ingredients to shine. The lower sugar content also makes our berry spreads great additions to savory dishes such as glazes for fish and meat, salad dressings, and sauces.

What are the ingredients in Canopy and Understory Wild Salal Berry Spreads?

Wild Salal Berry Spread: salal berries, organic cane sugar, organic lemon juice, pectin.

Wild Salal Berry and Spruce Tip Spread: salal berries, spruce tips, organic cane sugar, organic lemon juice, pectin.

Wild Salal Berry and Blueberry Spread: salal berries, organic blueberries, organic cane sugar, organic lemon juice, pectin.

Allergy information

Our berry spreads are made in a nut-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free facility.