Gaultheria pseudonotablis – a ‘cousin’ of Rhododendron makes for colorful jam

By June Walsh July 31, 2020

This has been a special year at the Moss Family Temperate Woodland Garden in the Humboldt Botanical Garden. The Gaultheria pseudonotablis bloomed beautifully and bore fruit.   

Gaultheria pseudonotablis is the Sino-Himalayan relative of our native Gaultheria shallon AKA Salal which is a leathery-leaved shrub in the heather family (Ericaceae). Gaultheria pseudonotablis has long arching branches with red hairy new growth and red flowers that ripen to blue/purple berries. The berries look like blue berries but grow in a cluster like Ribes (current) and are not very tasty.

Gaultheria pseudonotablis new growth

Gaultheria pseudonotablis flowers
Gaultheria pseudonotablis flowers

Gaultheria pseudonotablis fruit
Gaultheria pseudonotablis berries

Once I determined from a reliable source that the berries were edible my Master Food Preserver hat replaced my Master Gardener/Curator hat and I picked the berries to make jam.

Gaultheria pseudonotablis berries ready for cleaning

I used Lee Ann Moore’s recipe for Salal Jam. Lee Ann and Her husband Gary have Oceanside Jams and specialize in making preserves using native fruit.

After picking the fruit, I washed it carefully then put it into my steam juicer to extract the juice and leave behind the very gritty, seedy berries.

The jam is not very exciting, it tastes like apple or grape jam…mostly sweet, but it has a spectacular dark purple color and I bet no one else is making Gaultheria pseudonotablis Jam.

June Walsh is the Co-Curator of the Moss Family Temperate Woodland Garden in the Humboldt Botanical Garden, a UC Extension Master Gardener and Master Food Preserver.