Huckleberry Picking in Canada and California

Posted August 28, 2014 By sandy

The Castle Mountain Resort Huckleberry Festival on Gravenstafel Mountain (Alberta, Canada) was held last weekend.  Reports of an abundant huckleberry crop was apparent, according to the video below.

 

According to the Global News website:

Huckleberries ripe for the picking at annual festival

On Saturday, many braved the Gravenstafel Mountain above Castle Mountain Resort to pick bushel after bushel of sweet, blue huckleberries. The Huckleberry Festival has been a tradition at the resort for decades now, and it provides a rare opportunity for outdoors lovers to enjoy the mountains in the summer.

As for the fruits themselves, huckleberries are in the blueberry family, and grow best at higher altitudes. “They’re quite sweet and they don’t have a pit so you don’t have to worry about spitting them out or cleaning them for a pie or a cheesecake and they freeze very well,” says Stewart. “There are actually four types of huckleberries on our mountain from various sizes to various colours. And they grow about five hundred miles on either side of the Canadian border at this elevation.”

Elsewhere, in northern California, Karen Pavone, talks about her huckleberry picking adventure with her accomplished forager friend, Elizabeth:

Huckleberry Heaven

A fruitful forage depends on good timing. Start your quest too early in the season and the object of your desire may not be ripe (or even visible in the case of those elusive winter mushrooms). Wait too long and you’ll likely find vines and branches stripped clean by birds and other critters who beat you to the harvest. In Northern California, August is the perfect month to forage for the seasonal wild blackberries and huckleberries that grow like weeds in our coastal hills.

Karen’s article is an easy read with lots of wonderful pictures.  She also includes Elizabeth’s grandmother’s tart recipe:

HB tart

 Check out the original article for her Huckleberry Tart Recipe!

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Huckleberry Lemon Layer Cake

Posted August 25, 2014 By sandy

My husband found this recipe and converted it to huckleberries!   Nice job!!  This huckleberry lemon layer cake looks delicious!

 

Huckleberry Lemon Layer Cake

Huckleberry Lemon Layer Cake

Ingredients

  • CAKE
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature*
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour, careful not to over measure*
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk*
  • zest + juice of 3 medium lemons*
  • 1 1/2 cups huckleberries, fresh (258g) or non-thawed frozen (275g)
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 - 2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray three 9x2 inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Make the cake. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy - about 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
  3. In a large sized bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then add the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Remove from the mixer and stir lightly until everything is just combined. Toss the blueberries in 1 Tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter. Batter is extremely thick. Do not overmix at any point. Overmixing will lend a tough, dense textured crumb.
  4. Spoon batter evenly into 3 prepared cake pans. If only using 2 cake pans, your bake time will be longer. Bake the three layers for about 21-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took 21 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  5. Make the frosting. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 full minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, 1 Tablespoon cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add 1 more Tablespoon of cream to thin out, if desired.
  6. Assemble and frost. First, using a large serrated knife, trim the tops off the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place 1 layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with cream cheese frosting. Top with 2nd layer, more frosting, then the third layer. Top with frosting and spread around the sides. The recipe doesn't make a ton of frosting, just enough for a light frost. Top with blueberries or lemon garnish if desired. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting or else the cake may fall apart as you cut.
  7. Make 1 day in advance if you'd like. Extras keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3days.
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Walnut Topped Huckleberry Crisp

Posted August 23, 2014 By sandy

I found this wonder recipe on The Earthly Delights blog!

What a wonderful dessert!  I may just have to make this one myself!!

 

Walnut Topped Huckleberry Crisp

Walnut Topped Huckleberry Crisp

Ingredients

  • Walnut topping:
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup chopped fresh walnuts
  • Filling:
  • 8 cups huckleberries, fresh or frozen (about 2½ pounds)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. For the topping:
  2. Put the 6 topping ingredients into a large bowl. Mix together using a whisk until moist lumps form. Set aside.
  3. For the filling:
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  5. Place the huckleberries in a bowl and add the sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and cinnamon. Mix or toss gently but thoroughly to blend.
  6. Pour the berry mixture into an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish OR into individual serving-sized ramekins. Spread evenly and sprinkle with the topping mixture. Slip into the preheated oven and bake until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 50 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Wonderful warm or at room temperature!
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Check out the information on huckleberry published along with this recipe:

Huckleberry Crisp with Walnut Topping

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Huckleberry Salmon

Posted August 20, 2014 By sandy

When looking for recipes for huckleberries, I ran across this wonderful recipe for Huckleberry Salmon.

Instead on making the usual cookies, cakes and muffins, this savory recipe includes the great tastes of huckleberries for a fancy dinner dish:  Huckleberry Salmon.

Originally posted by Sylvia Fountaine in the Spokesman Review ….

Huckleberry Salmon

Huckleberry Salmon

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup apple wood chips (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh huckleberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds (optional)
  • 1 large shallot, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 pound fillet of wild salmon, skin on
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • Salt and pepper
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, more for garnish
  • 1 cup greens, such as arugula, baby kale and watercress

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to medium high. Make a little bowl out of 2 to 3 layers of aluminum foil the size of half a grapefruit. Place dry apple wood chips inside the foil bowl, place the bowl directly on the heating grill, and close the grill lid.
  2. Place huckleberries in a medium bowl. Heat sugar, vinegar, a generous three- finger pinch of salt and coriander seeds in a small sauce pan and stir until sugar has dissolved. Add minced shallots and simmer two minutes. Pour over huckleberries, stir gently and set aside.
  3. Brush both sides of salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place skin side down on the grill. Sprinkle with zest of one lemon, and 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves.
  4. Once apple wood chips begin smoking, turn heat down to low, grill salmon, skin side down, directly on the grill, on lowest heat, closing lid. Check after 5 minutes. Shift salmon to create crosshatch marks on the skin, and close lid again for just a few minutes. Salmon at this point will cook quickly, especially if it’s a thinner piece. Once salmon is cooked to medium rare or medium, turn heat off.
  5. Place salmon on a platter over greens. Squeeze with juice of half a lemon. Generously spoon pickled huckleberries and pickling liquid over the salmon and greens, and scatter with thyme sprigs. Serve immediately.
  6. Yield: 4 servings
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Check out the Spokesman article, Seasonal Kitchen: Huckleberries great for sweet, savory dishes, for some background on huckleberries and recipes for the following:

  • Huckleberry Almond Flour Pancakes
  • Huckleberry Mojito
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Huckleberry Pudding Cake

Posted August 18, 2014 By sandy

With all the abundant huckleberries this year, lots of recipes are cropping up.

One of the yummiest sounding ones is the huckleberry pudding cake recipe posted on the Bozeman Daily Chronicle online edition:

Huckleberry Pudding Cake

Huckleberry Pudding Cake

Ingredients

  • Cakes
  • 1 cup huckleberries
  • 4 tbs. unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ⅔ cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature, separated
  • 2 tbs. lemon zest
  • 5 tbs. all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • Compote
  • 1 ½ cups huckleberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tbs. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Pinch kosher salt

Instructions

  1. The cakes - Position oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Butter eight 4-ounce ramekins and coat the inside of each ramekin with sugar. Add enough huckleberries to cover the bottom of each ramekin. Place the ramekins in a deep-sided roasting pan.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer on low heat.
  4. Add the butter, kosher salt, 2/3 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon zest to the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix at medium speed until the creamy. Add the four egg yolks, one at a time, mixing between each addition.
  5. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour slowly to combine. Gradually add 3/4 cup milk and continue mixing. Add 1/2 cup lemon juice. Once fully mixed, transfer the batter to a large bowl.
  6. Wash and dry the bowl of the stand mixer and fit the mixer with the whip attachment. Add the egg whites to the mixer and beat until the egg whites hold firm peaks.
  7. Fold one third of the egg whites into the batter. Quickly add the remaining two thirds egg whites to the batter and fold to combine.
  8. Divide the batter equally into the eight ramekins. Pour the simmering water into the roasting pan until the water rises halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  9. Place the roasting pan with the cakes in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the tops of the cakes are golden and puffy. Remove the ramekins and place them on a wire rack to cool.
  10. The compote - While the cakes are baking, add all the ingredients for the compote into a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir gently so as not to break the huckleberries. Boil for 1 minute and then remove from the heat to cool.
  11. To serve - Once the cakes have cooled, remove them from the ramekins by inverting them into the palm of your hand. Turn the cakes right side up and place them on a small plate.
  12. Spoon a portion of huckleberry compote over the cakes and serve.
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More Huckleberry Stories

Posted August 14, 2014 By sandy

With the abundance of huckleberries this year, also comes an abundance of huckleberry stories.  Sharing personal stories — and even poems — about this beloved berry is fun and entertaining to huckleberry lovers everywhere.

Wine Forest h

Greg Toffefson, writer for the Missoulian starts out with his story:

Huck fever brings memories of harvest queen

One morning last week, I found myself sitting in the middle of a huckleberry patch somewhere in the Swan Range slowly filling a plastic bucket with juicy purple berries. In case you aren’t tuned in to the berry situation, this is a bumper crop year. Every picking expedition is an extravaganza of excess. The picking is easy. All around me that morning, bushes hung heavy with berries.

Nearby, my brother Steve, who I could locate in the undergrowth only because his floppy hat was visible above the bushes, was filling his own bucket. Just down the slope a ways, my brother Val, my niece Jenny and her daughter Iris were all engrossed in gathering berries.

I could not help thinking about the fact that such activities are the stuff that links generations of us together, and that thought prompted me when I got home to resurrect the first column I ever wrote about huckleberries a quarter-century ago. Here is what I had to say …

About this time every year a purple haze settles over western Montana. Unless you or someone close to you is directly affected, you may not even notice. If you aren’t oblivious to it, you probably know it’s a little understood phenomenon. The physiological effects are unknown. They have never been studied. And the possible psychological implications, though they sometimes seem overwhelming, are only conjecture.

I’m talking about the dreaded HUCKLEBERRY FEVER….

CUTE STORY CONTINUES HERE

Theresa Hupp shares the next story on her blog:

A Picture I Wish I Had: A Baby and Huckleberries


A friend of mine in Washington State recently posted a picture of huckleberries she had picked. Now those of you who don’t live in the West may not even know what huckleberries are. You’ve heard of Huckleberry Finn, but did you ever wonder where the Huckleberry in his name came from?

(Actually, a little research indicates that some huckleberry varieties grow in the East also, but I will take a parochial attitude in this post and tell you that they can’t possibly be as good as western huckleberries.)

Huckleberries look like blueberries, but are smaller. And sweeter, in my opinion. And purple through and through. They are highly sought after by discerning humans and bears.

Huckleberries have not been domesticated, but have been picked in the wild from time immemorial until today. They are rampant in the hills around Coeur d’Alene Lake in Idaho.

READ WHAT HAPPENED TO HER BABY BROTHER IN THE YELLOW WINDBREAKER

Last, but not least, is an story by Rick Landers with the Spokesman Review sharing several huckleberry haikus:

Berry-picking readers enjoy penning purple prose

…On a whim, I asked readers if a forest festooned with an incredible profusion of berries could inspire literary achievement in addition to overactive salivary glands. Dozens responded.

Readers of the Spokesman-Review turned out to be well-versed in the art of huckleberry picking. It’s in our blood, not just stained on our fingers and tongues.

I’ve often been haunted by three-line, five-seven-five-syllable haikus that pop into my mind while huckleberry picking, especially when I’ve been with my kids …

Living the moment

The bucket half full

betrayed by a purple tongue

She bears little fruit…

ENJOY MORE HUCKLEBERY HAIKUS HERE

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Huckleberry Muffins

Posted August 12, 2014 By sandy

If you have been out picking loads of huckleberries, you are probably looking for some yummy recipes to use for your huckleberries.

Our favorite has always been huckleberry blinas (overnight pancakes) which is an old family recipe.

Recently, my husband came across this mouth watering recipe for huckleberry muffins:

Huckleberry Muffins

Huckleberry Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg or egg replacer
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/3 cup favorite oil
  • 1 cup fresh (or frozen) huckleberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Insert paper liners into a 10- or 12-muffin tin or spray with light oil.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine three wet ingredients, beating to froth with a whisk.
  4. Mix dry and wet ingredients together with a spoon, just until there are no dry ingredients.
  5. Folk in huckleberries GENTLY with a spoon, wooden preferred.
  6. Use scoop to gently fill muffin tins up to 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes for 10 muffins ... or slightly less for 12.
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Huckleberry Festival in Mount Hood, Oregon

Posted August 11, 2014 By sandy

Announcing the Huckleberry Festival in Mount Hood, Oregon.

According to Janet Eastman, writer for the Oregonian ….

Huckleberry Festival

Mt. Hood Huckleberry Festival and Barlow Trail Days has live music, storytellers, historical tours, a watermelon launch and other activities, exhibits, food and retail vendors, fresh wild huckleberries and huckleberry-filled treats. 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri-Sat, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun, Aug. 22-24. Mt. Hood Village Resort, 65000 E. Highway 26, Welches.

The family-oriented event will have live music, Native American storytelling, arts and crafts, and historical tours of Mount Hood’s Oregon Trail. Catapults and other uniquely designed contraptions will launch watermelons and other produce into the air.

Admission and parking are free.

You can also buy huckleberry goodies like jams, syrups, candies, teas, milkshakes, coffee and vinaigrettes as well as Indian frybread and tacos. There will be a Native American salmon bake and a huckleberry pancake breakfasts.

For more information about the Mt. Hood Huckleberry Festival, visit the Cascade Geographic Society.

HB bush r

The article also talks about growing and raising huckleberries. Here are some points of interest from the Northwest Berry and Grape Information Network

  • Huckleberries grow slowly, taking up to 15 years to reach full maturity from seed or cuttings, and prefer high elevations.
  • Black huckleberry colors range from black to purple to bluish tinge to red. You can even find white berries.
  • Cascade and black huckleberries are naturally adapted to short-season areas and depend on an insulating cover of snow for survival during winter’s sub-zero temperatures.
  • For small plantings on sites with poor air and water drainage, consider growing huckleberries in raised beds.

Some of the nurseries sited in the article that sell huckleberry plants:

  1. Bosky Dell Natives in West Linn
  2. Woodbrook Native Plant Nursery in Gig Harbor, Wash

For more information on growing huckleberries, check out our resource section for a copy of Dr. Barney’s book on Growing Western Huckleberries (available in PDF download as well).

Make sure to check out this informative article for more information on growing huckleberries.

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Huckleberry Picking in Washington

Posted August 9, 2014 By sandy

The Billingham Heald says “It’s time to head to mountains to pick huckleberries”!

Huckleberry picking in Washington is beginning!!  Good news for pickers on the west side of the Rocky Mountain region.

Huckleberry Bushi

The article goes on to explain the following:

Berries are ripe at lower elevations and ready for recreational picking and starting to ripen at higher elevations.

Huckleberries are generally found above 3,000 feet of elevation. You typically find huckleberry bushes on slopes with sunshine and plenty of water. Experts recommend looking for open areas such as older clear cuts and burned areas. Look for plants like beargrass, serviceberry, hemlock and Pacific silver fir. They are “indicator species, “plants likely to be near huckleberries.

The typical huckleberry shrub is low and erect, standing 1-5 feet tall. The leaves are short, elliptical and alternative on the stems. Berries are ripe for picking when they are plump and dark purple. The leaves turn bright red before being shed later in the fall. …

The hot weather this summer has had some effect on berries. But the plentiful rain in June and in the last couple of weeks has been beneficial.

“Picking prospects this year appear mixed. Some usually productive areas have mediocre crops this year. The rest seem about normal,” said Jon Nakae, south zone silviculturist for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/08/09/3785922/its-time-to-head-to-mountains.html#storylink=cpy

If you are interested in picking in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest or the Mount Rainier National Park area, the article has some excellent tips on where to find huckleberries!

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/08/09/3785922/its-time-to-head-to-mountains.html#storylink=cpy
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Huckleberry Festival in Whitefish Montana

Posted August 8, 2014 By sandy

The 25th Annual Huckleberry Days Art Festival runs August 8-10 in Whitefish, Montana.

Xavier Flory, writer for the Flathead Beacon writes about the festival:

Whitefish Huckleberry Festival

Celebrating Summer with Art and Huckleberries

Whitefish celebrates its 25th annual Huckleberry Days Art Festival this weekend with artist vendors from all over the Northwest, a cornucopia of food and an annual bakeoff featuring the event’s namesake fruit….

Like huckleberries, which are a nostalgic symbol referenced in “Moon River,” Huckleberry Days are much more than a showcase of the fruit; the festival is a celebration of summer and artistic talent. Well over 100 artists will come to the festival with paintings, miniature bears hewn out of Glacier evergreens and countless photos and trinkets. Although the festival attracts artists from all over the Northwest – this year there is even someone coming from New York – Stewart says many of the artists, particularly the photographers, take inspiration from Montana’s beautiful landscapes….

READ FULL ARTICLE

The huckleberry festival also features the Huckleberry Days Bake-off Contest, vendors selling huckleberry products and entertainment for the kids.

See more info on the Whitefish Chamber website — and make sure to check out the mouth-watering huckleberry treat pictures!!

Sounds like lots of fun …. and good eating!!

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