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!

Huckleberry Sweet Rolls

Huckleberry Sweet Rolls

Ingredients

    Dough
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 1/4 tsps active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • extra butter for the pans
  • 2 tbsps butter, melted (to brush on before baking)
  • Filling
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest of 2 large lemons
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups (about 11 oz.) fresh huckleberries (or blueberries)
  • Frosting
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

    Make the dough:
  1. Warm the milk and water to 115°F. Sprinkle the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar over the warm liquid and let sit for a few minutes. Add the melted butter, vanilla extract, and egg to the liquid. Combine the remaining sugar with the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Pour the liquid into the dry mixture and mix on medium speed for 5-7 minutes until the dough is smooth. Lightly grease a large bowl with an unflavored vegetable oil. Form the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl. Flip the dough over to oil the entire ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 90 minutes until it has doubled in size. Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan or two 9-inch round pans.
  2. Make the rolls:
  3. Mix the lemon zest and 1/2 cup of sugar together. Punch the dough down and roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a 16×9 inch rectangle. Spread the 1/4 cup of softened butter over the dough leaving a 1/2-inch margin at one of the long edges. Sprinkle the lemon sugar over the butter. Then sprinkle the huckleberries evenly over the the sugar. From the long edge with no margin, tightly roll the dough like a carpet. Pinch the edge to the roll to seal it. Cut the roll into 16 equal slices, placing each slice, cut-side down into the prepared baking pan(s). Cover the pan(s) with plastic and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter and bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Let cool.
  4. Make the frosting:
  5. While the rolls bake, cream the cream cheese and butter together in a mixer or by hand. Mix in the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon juice until uniform. Frost the rolls while warm. Makes 16 rolls.
http://wildhuckleberry.com/2016/12/07/huckleberry-sweet-rolls/

 

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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

Huckleberry Fudge

Huckleberry Fudge

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 12 oz. high quality white chocolate
  • 1/2 cup huckleberry jam

Instructions

  1. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment or wax paper.
  2. Beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or by hand or with a hand mixer) until smooth.
  3. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time and beat until smooth and incorporated. Repeat until all of the sugar is added to the cream cheese.
  4. Melt the white chocolate on half power for a minute in a microwave. Stir and melt for another minute on half power until mostly melted. Remove from microwave and continue stirring until all solids have liquefied. (If you don’t like or don’t have a microwave, you can set the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and then set the bowl on top of a pot of simmering water (about an inch of water is enough), stirring until the chocolate melts.)
  5. Add the white chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and beat until combined. It will lose the smooth texture and become fluffier.
  6. Mix the jam into the cream cheese mixture until completely blended, or you can swirl the jam into the mixture by hand.
  7. Pour the fudge into the baking pan and smooth it out evenly. Refrigerate the fudge until firm (about an hour).
  8. Remove the fudge from the pan and slice with a wet knife (clean the knife between cuts for cleaner slices). Makes 64 1-inch squares.
  9. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.
http://wildhuckleberry.com/2016/12/01/huckleberry-fudge-2/

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.

Huckleberry Cream Pie

Huckleberry Cream Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 large package Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 small container of cool whip
  • 1 16 oz. jar of huckleberry pie filling

Instructions

  1. Combine the first four ingredients above (not the pie filling).
  2. Once they are mixed well, fold in the pie filling.
  3. Spoon into a crust of your choice.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. Refrigerate any leftovers - if there are any!!
http://wildhuckleberry.com/2016/11/25/best-huckleberry-cream-pie/

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!

Huckleberry Buckle

Huckleberry Buckle

Ingredients

    Batter
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (plus extra to grease the pan)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Fruit Topping
  • 2 1/2 cups huckleberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw frozen berries)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease the bottom of a 9-inch square pan with melted butter.
  2. Cream 1/4 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of sugar together in a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar until just combined.
  5. Stir the milk and vanilla extract into the batter until just mixed – it will be thick and lumpy.
  6. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Mix the berries with 3/4 cup of sugar. Pour the boiling water over the berries and sugar, then fold until mixed. Pour the berries over the batter.
  8. Dot the top with the pieces of butter. Bake 45-50 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 6-8.
http://wildhuckleberry.com/2016/11/17/huckleberry-buckle/

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!

Huckleberry Jello Cheese Cake

Huckleberry Jello Cheese Cake

Ingredients

  • Ingredients:
  • • 1 bag crushed oreos
  • • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • • 1 cup (200g) fresh or frozen huckleberries/blueberries
  • • 2 tbsp (25g) granulated sugar
  • • 1 tbsp honey
  • • 1.5 blocks (375g) cream cheese
  • • 3 tbsp (45g) granulated sugar
  • • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • • 375 mL whipping cream
  • • 1/2 cup (60g) icing sugar
  • • 2 envelops gelatin
  • • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • • 1/2 cup cold water
  • • 1 grape jello
  • • 1 cup cold water
  • • 1 cup boiling water

Instructions

  1. Prepare crust buy combining crushed oreos and butter. Press into a 9″ springform pan and flatten. Place crust in fridge to solidify.
  2. Place berries, sugar and honey in a small sauce pan. Cook on medium heat until berries break down and sauce has thickened. Set aside to cool.
  3. Bloom gelatin in a small bowl by sprinkling it on top of 1/2 cup cold water, stir, then add 1/2 cup boiling water. Stir and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl. Set aside.
  5. Whip cream, and icing sugar in a medium bowl until stiff peaks have formed. Transfer whipped mixture to creamed mixture and stir to combine.
  6. Add gelatin and whip until mixture has no clumps remaining.
  7. Pour half of the cream cheese mixture onto the crust and level flat. Pop into the freezer for 10 minutes to solidify the top of the layer before adding the huckleberry filling.
  8. Pour huckleberry filling on top of cheesecake layer and level as best as you can.
  9. Pour the remaining cream cheese mixture on top and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to solidify the top again and then transfer to the fridge until topping is ready.
  10. Make jello according to package and allow to cool to room temperature before pouring on the cheesecake. Once cooled, pour onto the top of the cheesecake and add some huckleberries to the jello all over the top. Place in the fridge to solidify at least 2 hours.
  11. Slice and serve once ready. Cake should be kept in the fridge and should be consumed within 2-3 days.
http://wildhuckleberry.com/2016/10/14/huckleberry-jello-cheese-cake/

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:

Huckleberries in a Glass

Huckleberries in a Glass

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. fresh huckleberries
  • .5 oz. Lemon juice
  • 2 oz. Premium vodka
  • 1 oz. Simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar boiled until sugar dissolves)
  • Sugar (to rim the cocktail glass)
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle huckleberries.
  2. Add simple syrup, lemon juice, vodka.
  3. Shake for 30 seconds and double strain into cocktail glass with a sugared rim.
  4. Alternately, pour contents into 6 shot glasses with sugared rims. Rinse glass and repeat.
http://wildhuckleberry.com/2016/09/30/adult-huckleberries-in-a-glass-recipe/

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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Preliminary Success in Taming the Wild Huckleberry

Posted September 23, 2016 By sandy

The Spokesman Review reports success in taming the wild huckleberry in their recent article which is quickly spreading to many news outlets.

Combining the original research, by Dr. Dan Barney at the University of Idaho’s Sandpoint Research station, WSU and others are working successfully to cultivate wild huckleberry plants.

Here are the highlights of the article By Becky Kramer:

Preliminary Success in Taming the Wild Huckleberry

WSU researchers taming the wild huckleberry

…Washington State University researchers are setting their sights on domesticating the wild huckleberry, a goal that has eluded plant scientists for decades.

Huckleberries are notoriously fickle plants. The mountain shrubs don’t transplant well and even huckleberry bushes grown from seeds seldom produce fruit.

But in a WSU greenhouse, cloned shrubs are producing berries. Scientists say their ultimate goal is a sturdy plant with high yields of the tangy-tart berries….

At the Pullman campus, rows of potted huckleberries are starting to display red fall leaves. They’re the cloned descendents of two huckleberry plants that Biotechnology Manager Nathan Tarlyn purchased at a commercial nursery several years ago.

Huckleberries growing in the mountains don’t produce until they’re about 5 to 7 years old. But in the greenhouse’s controlled climate, the 18-month-old plants flowered this spring. Tarlyn brought in bumblebees to cross pollinate the huckleberries with blueberries.

Now, he has 2,000 tiny seedlings from this year’s berry crop, which will be studied for desirable traits….

The work at WSU is taking a different approach to domesticating huckleberries than previous efforts at the University of Idaho’s Sandpoint research and extension office.

UI horticulture professor Dan Barney’s research focused on developing a pure strain of domestic huckleberries, without a blueberry influence. In a 2005 interview, Barney said he didn’t want to sacrifice flavor for abundance. Budget cuts ended the research, and Barney has since retired.

But higher yields are important for making huckleberries viable for commercial growers, Dhingra said. He hopes to release a domestic huckleberry within a few years that can be licensed. It would be sold with a proprietary high-acid soil mix and fertilizer….

Joe Culbreth has 1,200 huckleberry bushes on his 15-acre fruit and nut farm in Rathdrum. Six years after after the bushes went into the ground, he picked his first berries this summer….

But why the bushes produced this year remains a mystery to Culbreth, who wondered if the plants’ age or weather-related conditions triggered the fruit….

The bushes spread by rhizomes, which means an entire patch might be one or two plants. That’s why the shrubs don’t transplant well. Even starting a huckleberry bush from a transplanted rhizome is tricky. The plants seem to lack something from their original environment that they need to flourish.

But the cloned huckleberries in the WSU lab appear to be thriving in the potting soil mix. “We’re giving it a new environment,” Dhingra said…

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

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