Free Fireweed Jam at Hoonah’s Traditional Food Fair

Thank you to Ian Johnson, Jeromy Grant, Olivia Morrison, Arianna Lapke, Sam Sheakley, and Sean Williams for helping out on the first Fireweed harvest day!

Over the last couple of weeks, HIA Environmental, a TRAYLS member, and a handful of volunteers dedicated their time to the Traditional Food Fair by harvesting fireweed. Next up will be blueberry harvesting from 1-4pm on Wednesday, August 14th. We’d love to see you there!

Fireweed is easy to identify because of its bright purple petals

We went out near Game Creek, and were greeted with the sun peeking through cloudy skies, buzzing bumblebees, and plenty of fireweed flowers. Our goal was to collect enough flowers to make ample amounts of fireweed jam to distribute at the Food Fair. After harvesting for three hours, we had over two gallons of pressed fireweed flowers!

There was fireweed everywhere you turned
It’s easy to smile when you’re outside collecting flowers!

But that wasn’t enough! We went out again to harvest more to ensure we will have enough fireweed jam this September.

Volunteers Michael Cheslock, Jack Elliot, and Noel Lozada working hard on a second day of harvesting
You have to boil the purple color out of the fireweed

After another few hours collecting fireweed, we had a new total of about five gallons of pressed fireweed flowers! Then the jamming process begun.

Once the flowers turn brown/gray you know they’re done!


Those five gallons of pressed fireweed flowers produced over a gallon of fireweed juice, and after a couple hours filled with boiling, straining, stirring and pouring, we were able to make over 280 ounces of fireweed jam. That’s more than two gallons!

Making jam can be a messy process, but it’s worth it!
Ted Elliott and Sam Sheakley finishing up









That much jam was enough to fill over 70 four-ounce jars to distribute within the community during the Traditional Food Fair this September!

Look at all that jam! Isn’t it sweet?

Thank you to everyone who contributed their time and effort to provide fireweed jam to the community!

Not doing anything Wednesday, August 14th? Want to support the community and yourself? Join us between 1-4pm to collect blueberries at Gob’s Knob for the Traditional Food Fair — and you can take some home too! If you want to ride with us just call HIA at (907) 945-3545 ex. 141 before Wednesday to RSVP!

Photo: Ian Johnson


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