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Keweenaw Gold: Thimbleberries

With as rich of a mining history as the Keweenaw Peninsula has you might think Keweenaw Gold is a mineral. But as we approach midsummer the prospectors roaming the deep woods of the Keweenaw are looking for something a bit tastier.

Resembling the top of a thimble, a thimbleberry is a bright-red berry that is common in the Keweenaw but not many other places in the U.S. Deliciously sweet with a hint of tartness, this berry is highly sought after and often made into jam.

Picking thimbleberries with a dog in the Keweenaw Peninsula

Thimbleberry flower with pollinating beetle
Thimbleberry on the plant
Thimbleberry jam
Locals are very protective of their “patches”, as much so as a prospector to their gold claim! Picking thimbleberries can be a frustrating endeavor. Although the berries are easy to pick, each plant only produces a few berries. On top of that, the berry easily collapses, so even after picking for hours you bucket never looks full!

Thimbleberries are easily identified by their leaves which are very large, eight inches or more across and hand-shaped. Early season the flowers are usually white, and have five white petals that appear to be very flimsy. Ripe thimbleberries are a deep red, and resemble raspberries in shape and structure. 
Jampot bakery in the Keweenaw Peninsula

Thimbleberries can be found in sunny patches of young, mixed deciduous forests, and along hiking trails and logging roads.

They grow in small crops and they take the patience of a monk to pick, so the going rate for an 8oz jar of jam is $25-35.00! Keweenaw Gold!

Want to try the jam and not interesting in investing the time and effort? Head on our to one of our favorite places The Jampot, where actual monks do have the time, patience and skill to produce this tasty jam!