Foraging: Huckleberries

Summer is here and it’s gorgeous and warm outside which means we’ve had plenty of opportunity to begin getting our yard under control. When we moved into this house a month ago, the yard was pretty overgrown so we’ve been working hard to get the bushes cut  back and makin’ it look good outside.

One of the many benefits of this is that I found a nice red huckleberry bush that has tons of huckleberries growing on it!
Yum!

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Huckleberries have been used for centuries by Native Americans as a food source- they used to dry the berries and either eat them plain or mix them with animal fat into pemmican cakes to help sustain them for the winter. I have a tiny bit of Native American blood in me (my great-great grandma was an Indian princess) so it’s fun to tap into a bit of my heritage by gathering and eating huckleberries.  I’m not mixing them with animal fat though! 😉 I’ll leave that to my ancestors.

Red huckleberries oftentimes grow in the Northwest of the United States and British Columbia and even Southern Alaska. They are also called bilberries or whortleberries. They have small rounded leaves that kind of feather out and the berries grow on the underside of the branches. They can be used for jellies, jams, wine and pies and are quite tasty!

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I used to love eating huckleberries off the bush when I was a kid. I remember being out in the woods playing and feasting on salmon berries and huckleberries to keep me full until I could get back to the house and eat dinner.

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When I eagerly bit into a berry yesterday when I was picking them, I was surprised to find it quite sour.
That didn’t stop Ellie and I from picking a few cups of them for a nice berry and rhubarb crisp. A little sugar took care of the tartness. I added some blackberries from my parent’s house, some rhubarb from our front yard and some strawberries (from Costco) as well. I can’t wait to eat it tonight!

Have you ever made anything out of huckleberries?

I’d love to hear about it!

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