Watch these fabulous ladies compete for the best soapberry recipe. Shot during Celebration 2008, sponsored by Sealaska Heritage Institute in Juneau.
Soapberries are considered a rare treat among Native people and often are served at ceremonial gatherings. To prepare, a small amount of berries is mixed with water and whipped into a froth. Soapberries are very bitter, so people often add sweeteners, such as chopped apples and bananas or they whip the berries with juice from fruit cocktail instead of water. Historically, people whipped soapberries with their hands or with a wooden whisk. The whisk was made by shaving sections of wood toward the end of a stick and stopping before the shavings fell off. Today, Native people sometimes still use their hands to froth soapberries served at ceremonies, although it’s now more common to use an electric mixer.
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