Alaska’s spring harvest.

There are many greens available to harvest on public lands in Alaska. One of the first to arrive is the fiddlehead fern. The young unfurled fronds of the ostrich or lady fern. They usually grow in a cluster circle. I’m always sure to leave half of the 8-10 fiddleheads. It is important to clean them and boil or blanch the raw fronds to rid the natural toxins. For long storage I pickle mine and they are good for winter.

Around the same time beach greens and willow leaves show up. We call the greens tikyuks and the leaves sura. Both are picked clean and wilted then stored in seal oil for longer preservation. Both have a bitter taste but are a great source of nutrients. When they are mixed with seal oil the bitterness is cut and they make a great side for niqipak or Native food night.

There are roots that are ready to harvest this time of year we call masu. I am hopeful to find some before they harden out of the white flesh form they are in spring.

Enjoy spring and the lands bounties!

-Sewskimo Gertz

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