Alaska is an enormous state and those from the Arctic may eat totally differently than those who live in the coastal waters of the southeast, but most people who grew up in Alaska will be able to identify with these foods from their childhood. Alaskans enjoy living with the land and eating with the seasons, as this place is ruled by the sun and its life-giving warmth. If you have lived in Alaska, you will undoubtedly miss these foods from home.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Wild Blueberry Pancakes
A childhood favorite for many, these are a year-round favorite as the tart and purple berries trap the rich flavors of summer in tiny, pungent morsel to be enjoyed year-round from the freezer. Crispy pancakes made on a cast-iron skillet, dotted with wild blueberries are bound to make any Alaskan think of their childhood.
2. Fireweed Jelly
The magenta flower fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium) lends its soft rosy color and delicate floral charm to fireweed jelly. The flower is prolific after a wildfire, and the plants spread across the state making this jelly a wide spread favorite.
No matter where you grew up in Alaska, the infamous 'akutaq' was probably a part of your childhood. Also known as "eskimo ice cream", an interesting combination of fat, sugar and frozen berries forms a dessert in rural Alaska. Traditionally, it is made with wild berries, fish, tundra greens, or roots with animal oil or fat. Commonly it is made from shortening whipped with sugar, blueberries, raspberries,
4. Grilled Salmon
Salmon is a staple of the Alaskan diet, and anyone who grew up in Alaska probably ate a lot of salmon as child. Summer fishing trips for acquiring salmon are a standard in Alaska and the taste of fresh salmon will always remind you of home.
5. King Crab
Although in other parts of the world crab would be a food for adults, the whole family dines on king crab, often for special occasions. Birthdays, Christmases, and other high holidays are often celebrated with king crab feasts. Remember happy times of plenty when seemingly endless king crab was available.
Heading out to check the shrimp pots is a common chore in coastal Alaskan towns. Whether or not you catch them, shrimp is certainly a common food in households near the ocean. Fresh, wild Alaskan shrimp are just a little bigger and tastiest than any others.
7. Halibut Fish & Chips
A common option on the kids menu in Alaska, firm, fresh halibut is perfectly suited to being battered and deep fried for an Alaskan twist on classic fish and chips. If the fries are made from Alaskan grown potatoes, even better.
8. Smoked Salmon
When fish are abundant in the late summer, the smoker is on all the time turning salmon into the even more delicious smoked salmon. Canned, dried, or and vacuum sealed and frozen, salmon is preserved for the winter in a variety of ways. But smoked salmon is a special delicacy any Alaskan child is sure to remember.
Muktuk is a food primary eaten in arctic Alaska consisting of frozen whale skin and blubber. This taste of northern Alaska makes
most anyone from the region feel at home.
10. Razor Clams
A fun Alaskan family activity is digging for clams in the mud. Many who grew up in Alaska will remember digging for razor clams and the taste of victory.
11. Moose Burgers
When someone gets a moose in the fall, the grill is rocking with moose burgers forever. The meat is very healthy and the taste is wild and primal. No Alaskan child will ever forget the flavor.
12. Rhubarb Pie
Rhubarb, both a wild variety and a domesticated type, flourish in the Alaskan summers. Rhubarb and strawberry-rhubarb pies are an excellent benefit of the abundant harvest season. One bite will transport you back to a summer day under the midnight sun.
13. Wild Blueberry Muffins
Wild blueberries find a way into these Alaskan childhood favorites. Blueberries are so abundant in late summer that these delicious baked goods are everywhere.
14. Zuchinni Bread
The midnight sun has a wonderful affect on vegetables: they grow to enormous proportions. Zuchinni, cabbage and rhubarb all thrive in these conditions and grow very quickly. When zuchinni is abundant, zuchinni bread is all around. The vegetable makes a moist quick bread with a delicate texture and a sweet crunch.
15. Sourdough Pancakes
Sourdough is so ingrained in Alaskan culture that a seasoned Alaskan who can handle the territory is called a "sourdough". These tangy pancakes are delicious smothered in butter and locally made birch syrup.
16. Birch Syrup
The sap from Alaskan paper birch trees (Betula neoalaskana) boils don't into a tasty syrup. The hint of pine and the lightness of the flavor elevate anything you sweeten with it. One taste will whisk you away to fresh winter days with rosy cheeks from playing in the snow.
Did you grow up in Alaska? Tell us about it in the comments below.