What are Huckleberries?

Posted February 9, 2017 By sandy

If you are not familiar with our wonderful huckleberries, either you don’t eat fruit or you live under a rock ….  No, seriously, I would like to share some general information about huckleberries.

What are Huckleberries?

Ask Define, shares the following definition of huckleberries:

… Huckleberry is a name used in North America for several plants in two closely related genera in the family Ericaceae: Gaylussacia and Vaccinium. The Huckleberry is the state fruit of Idaho.
 
While some Vaccinium species, such as the Red Huckleberry, are always called huckleberries, other species may be called blueberries or huckleberries depending upon local custom. Usually, the distinction between them is that blueberries have numerous tiny seeds, while huckleberries have 10 larger seeds (making them more difficult to eat)….
 
In the Pacific Northwest of North America, the huckleberry plant can be found in mid-alpine regions, often on the lower slopes of mountains. The plant grows best in damp, acidic soil. Under optimal conditions, huckleberries can be as much as 1.5-2 m (about 5-6.5 feet) high, and usually ripen in mid-to-late summer; later at higher elevations. …
Loveland Report-Herald shares the following information:
 
… If you’ve never seen a wild one, the berries are small and round, 5-10 mm in diameter and look like large (relatively) dark blueberries. Some are tart and some are sweet (much like teenage girls as I recall dimly).

Huckleberries are found tasty by birds, deer, humans and bears. Never disturb a bear with blue/purple chops.

Red huckleberries can be found in the maritime-influenced plant community from coastal Central California to southern Washington and British Columbia. If you wander inward in an easterly direction to the mountains of Montana and Idaho, you will find black and blue huckleberries in mid-alpine regions up to 11,500 feet in elevation.

The plants grow best in damp acidic soil having volcanic origin, explaining their presence in the coastal Northwest. They can grow to heights of one to two meters….

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Origin of “I’m Your Huckleberry”

Posted January 13, 2017 By sandy

Have you ever pondered where the saying, “I’m your huckleberry” came from and what it actually means?

Maybe you remember the line that was made famous by Val Kilmer in the movie:  “Tombstone”.  But where did he get the phrase?

Victoria Wilcox:  The Art of Story website shares some information on the topic:

I’m Your Huckleberry

Historical Background … From World Wide Words: Quite how I’m your huckleberry came out of all that with the sense of the man for the job isn’t obvious. It seems that the word came to be given as a mark of affection or comradeship to one’s partner or sidekick. There is often an identification of oneself as a willing helper or assistant about it, as here in True to Himself, by Edward Stratemeyer, dated 1900: “ ‘I will pay you for whatever you do for me.’ ‘Then I’m your huckleberry. Who are you and what do you want to know?’ ”. Despite the obvious associations, it doesn’t seem to derive directly from Mark Twain’s books….

Literary Background …  (From Walter Noble Burns 1927 novel,Tombstone: An Iliad of the Southwest”).

“They say you’re the gamest man in the Earp crowd, Doc,” Ringo said. “I don’t need but three feet to do my fighting. Here’s my handkerchief. Take hold.”

Holliday took a quick step toward him.

I’m your huckleberry, Ringo,” replied the cheerful doctor. “That’s just my game.”

Holliday put out a hand and grasped the handkerchief. Both men reached for their six-shooters.

“No, you don’t,” cried Mayor Thomas, springing between them. “You’ll fight no handkerchief duel here. There’s been enough killing in Tombstone, and it’s got to stop.”

That ended it. Holliday went into the saloon. Ringo withdrew across the street.

According to Victoria ….

Huckleberries hold a place in archaic American English slang. The tiny size of the berries led to their use as a way of referring to something small, often affectionately as in the lyrics of Moon River. The phrase “a huckleberry over my persimmon” was used to mean “a bit beyond my abilities”. “I’m your huckleberry” is a way of saying that one is just the right person for a given job. The range of slang meanings of huckleberry in the 19th century was fairly large, also referring to significant persons or nice persons.

So, there you have it!

 

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Winter Snow in Huckleberry Country

Posted January 6, 2017 By sandy

While many of us in huckleberry country are still digging out from one of the snowiest winters, I am wondering what impact the snow will have on the huckleberry crop this summer.

Here are some excerpts on the impact of weather on huckleberries:Winter Snows in Huckleberry Country

Huckleberries purple gold

by Laura Roady

Each year’s huckleberry crop depends on the weather. A cool, cloudy spring means a poor huckleberry year because the insects won’t have enough time to pollinate the short-lived blossoms….

Okay, nothing here about snow though!

But I did find some references to the soil where huckleberries grow after a fire — which of course reflects the benefits to the huckleberry crop after the 2015 fires:

While huckleberries grow in old burns, they aren’t like morels that proliferate the year after a fire. Huckleberries can take 15 years to reach maturity, but will bear fruit sooner. The ashy soil left behind by fires provides nutrients for the huckleberry plants, which thrive in damp, acidic soil.

Another reference from 2011 which was also a year for heavy snowfall:

Huckleberries — Beautiful Plant, Delicious Berries

by Jeanne DeBenedetti Keyes

Family lore has it that huckleberries are especially abundant during a year with a heavy snowpack. Now, this makes sense but is it really true?…

But what constitutes a “good year?” The Pacific Northwest had a record snowfall this year. The cool spring and summer allowed the snow to slowly melt, providing the huckleberries with a steady source of moisture.

And this is not complete without a note from Dan Barney’s Book:

Growing Western Huckleberries

Cascade and black huckleberries are naturally adapted to short-season areas and elevations of 2,000 feet and above. They depend on an insulating cover of snow for survival during winter’s sub-zero temperatures. Likewise, late-winter cold snaps (temperatures in the teens or single digits) following above-freezing warm spells can damage the bushes….

Huckleberries require a dormant winter period with temperatures around freezing. Production is possible in USDA plant hardiness zones 4-8. Whenever possible, grow huckleberries where 1 to 2 feet of snow persist throughout the winter, where winter temperatures remain above 0 degrees F, or where the plants can be protected when temperatures drop to 0 degrees F or below.

After reading Dr. Barney’s information and talking with ‘Mr. Huckleberry’, it is apparent that the snow cover is good for the huckleberry plants.  With the extreme cold we have experienced in the north western Rocky Mountain region, the heavy snows are protecting the plants.  And, of course, the melting snow will give the plant plenty of moisture in the early spring.

As for the rest, I guess we will have to wait and see how the season progresses!

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Huckleberry Sweet Rolls

Posted December 7, 2016 By sandy

Have you ever had Huckleberry Sweet Rolls?

My mother-in-law was famous for her cinnamon rolls.  As a matter of fact, her rolls were so loves by family that there was an abundance of them available at her funeral — a fond memory of the wonderful goodies she shared with everyone.

I wish she were still around as I know you she would love this Huckleberry Sweet Roll recipe.  Once again, this one is originally shared on the
Use Real Butter blog!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:46]

 

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Huckleberry Fudge

Posted December 1, 2016 By sandy

Who would like to make Huckleberry Fudge for the holidays?

Fudge is a favorite goodie this time of the year, but why not make it ever better by making it huckleberry fudge!

Here’s a quick and easy receipe

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:45]

And, if you don’t have huckleberry jam in your pantry, check out the large selection offered here!

Check out the complete story behind the recipe

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Best Huckleberry Cream Pie

Posted November 25, 2016 By sandy

Looking for that easy to make Huckleberry Cream Pie — the one to die for?

Well, we have it here!!  And I, personally, have made it several times and it has always been a hit.

We have published this recipe before, but it is soooooo good, I want to share it again.

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:2]

Huckleberry Cream Pie Filling

To help you out, here is where you can purchase the Huckleberry Pie Filling:

      Wild Mountain Berries’ Huckleberry Pie Filling

ENJOY!!

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Huckleberry Buckle

Posted November 17, 2016 By sandy

Making Huckleberry Buckle for your next special meal will be a favorite for everyone.  I bet that most most have not tried baking or eating buckle and with the huckleberries, it is sure to be a hit!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:44]

View the full instructions and story about this recipe

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Huckleberries in Siberia?

Posted November 3, 2016 By sandy

Who knew huckleberries grow in Siberia?

A reader, Alexander Kopeykin, contacted us with this photo of wild huckleberries from the Eastern Sayan Mountains in Siberia, Russia.

According to Alexander, this past year was the best crop he has seen in 10 years!!

Huckleberries in Siberia

Alexander shares information about the huckleberries he finds in Siberia:

We have two main huckleberry species here.  The lowland type plants grows north of N57°30’ latitude near the sea level. Another type grows in the South in the Sayan Mountains at elevations from 3,000 to 4,000 feet.

The northern species give a little larger berries and so is more convenient for commercial harvesting. The mountain berries are more delicious and have an excellent flavor.

The plants are rather low, usually not higher than 15 inches, stems are green to the roots, and berries are covered with a waxy bloom. There is no soil in usual sense – just moss on granite stones. The roots in the moss form a sort of net.

Alexander, THANKS for the information on our huckleberry cousins near the same latitude, elsewhere on the globe!

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Huckleberry Jello Cheese Cake

Posted October 14, 2016 By sandy

If you are one of those who found and picked huckleberries this last season, you probably want to carefully plan how you are going to use those huckleberries!

Last this summer, ChefSite4U.com posted the following recipe that I think would make a perfect huckleberry dessert for a party.

And, in case you find the recipe complicated, there is a nice video posted on the site, outlining the steps to make this delicious looking huckleberry dessert!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:43]

What do you think — wouldn’t this pie make a wonderful New Year’s Eve dessert!?

 

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Adult ‘Huckleberries in a Glass’ Recipe

Posted September 30, 2016 By sandy

Our friends at the Idaho Statesman featured a special article about a bartender, in the Boise area, who squeezed fresh huckleberries to make a wonderful ‘adult’ drink.  He lovingly calls his drink the Huckleberry Hound!

Here is his recipe:

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:42]

READ THE FULL ARTICLEAdult huckleberries in a glass

Now, if you like simple recipes with as little fuss as possible, you can create something very similar to this recipe by mixing your favorite alcoholic beverage with our concentrated Huckleberry Lemonade (made right here in Idaho).

Check it out here!

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