Huckleberry Fudge

Posted October 29, 2014 By sandy

A few years back, my husband and I attending (and exhibited) at the North Powder Huckleberry Festival in North Powder, Oregon.

Even thought North Powder is a small town, they had a wonderful parade, celebration and array of huckleberry goodies (you can find some pictures of the North Powder, Oregon Huckleberry Desserts here!).

We had a good time, met lots of nice people and exchanged lots of huckleberry stories and products.

Before we left, we purchased a copy of their cookbook called “Huckleberries on the Trail” (sorry, but it was a few years ago and I could not find any place online where the book is offered for sale).

With the holiday season coming up, I thought I would share their Huckleberry Fudge recipe:

North Powder Huckleberry Fudge

North Powder Huckleberry Fudge

Ingredients

  • 4 cups huckleberries
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup nuts

Instructions

  1. Blend huckleberries, raisins, sugar and cornstarch in blender.
  2. Add nuts and blend briefly.
  3. Pour into a heavy skillet and cook down until thick.
  4. Pour into pan and dry in slow oven until firm enough to cut.
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Huckleberries or Blueberries?

Posted October 21, 2014 By sandy

Most of us in the Rocky Mountain region who pick huckleberries are most familiar with the vaccinium membranaceum or commonly called, mountain huckleberries!  But how do you know if you are picking or eating  huckleberries or blueberries?

Author of the blog, Patches Thru shares her conversation with some Native Americans who helped her identify huckleberries:

“There are a dozen different varieties of huckleberry out here,” the brothers had explained, “but the best huckleberries are the ones with the dark, almost black fruit. We only pick the ones that are big, single berries on the top of the leaf clusters like these,” said one of the brothers as he pointed to, and then picked, a big, plump huckleberry. “If the berries are underneath the leaf clusters, or if there is more than one berry in the same cluster, it’s probably a blueberry and not a huckleberry. Even though the huckleberries can be lots of different colors and sizes, you can always tell if it’s a true huckleberry because the pulp inside the huckleberries is this deep red or purple color,” he continued, popping the berry between his fingers to demonstrate. “The blueberries have much lighter colored guts.” His brother then added, “the best huckleberries, the ones that we pick, are the ones with pointy leaves like these,” he said, stroking one of the leaves almost lovingly. By the end of their tutorial I was 100% confident that I could identify the best huckleberries (vaccinium membranaceum), the ones their family had been picking for generations, and the huckleberries they sold commercially.

vaccinium membranaceum

After doing a great deal of research, the author posted a Part 2 of her article (I’m Your Huckleberry) where she formulated a simple definition of the huckleberries vs. blueberries:

Based on my new understanding of the differences between blueberries and huckleberries I revised the Merriam-Webster definitions to include the berries from both the east coast (AT) and the west coast (PCT):

If you are interested in Patches Thru articles and listed resources on huckleberries, I suggest reading her two articles:

I’m Your Huckleberry, Part One

I’m Your Huckleberry, Part Two

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Huckleberry Crepes with Ricotta Cheese

Posted October 15, 2014 By sandy

One of my favorite huckleberry recipe book is Huckleberry Delights:  A Collection of Huckleberry Recipes by Karen Jean Matsko Hood.

Karen has numerous recipes in her book, and here is one that I thought you would enjoy:  Huckleberry Crepes

Huckleberry Crepes

Huckleberry Crepes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups huckleberry (preferably fresh, but frozen will work)
  • confectioner's sugar

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl mix flour, eggs, salt and milk until smooth
  2. Heat an 8 inch crepe pan and brush with butter or oil
  3. Pour about 1/4 cups batter into the pan
  4. Tip and cover entire pan with batter
  5. Crepe is ready to turn when the bottom side begins to brown
  6. Slip cooked crepes onto warm plate and keep warm while remaining better is used
  7. When ready to serve, spread 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese down the middle of the crepe and place huckleberries on top
  8. Roll crepe together and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar
  9. Garnish with more huckleberries, if desired
  10. Serve plain or with syrup
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If you are interested in more of Karen’s huckleberry recipes, HB Delights Cookbook
check out her 309 page book.  Along with over 250 recipes, she also includes sections on …

  • Huckleberry Botanical Classification
  • Huckleberry Cultivations and Gardening
  • Huckleberry Facts
  • Huckleberry Folklore
  • Huckleberry History
  • Huckleberry Nutrition and Health
  • Huckleberry Poetry
  • Huckleberry Types
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Huckleberry Coconut Cake

Posted October 1, 2014 By sandy

If you were out picking this summer, you may have discovered a bumper crop of huckleberries.  2014 is the best huckleberry season in a loooooong time.

So, if you have lots of huckleberries, you might want to try this huckleberry coconut cake posted by the Allergy Reporter:

Huckleberry Coconut Cake

Huckleberry Coconut Cake

Ingredients

  • CAKE INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flaked, sweetened coconut
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed huckleberries
  • GLAZE INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon butter substitute
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and coconut. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, soy milk and oil. Using a rubber spatula, stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until moistened.
  3. In a small bowl, combine berries with 2 Tablespoons flour. Stir gently to coat berries with flour. This keeps the berries from “bleeding” too much. Fold berries gently into batter, careful not to squish berries.
  4. Spread batter into baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges begin turning light golden brown and pulling away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan while preparing glaze.
  5. To prepare glaze, bring water to boil. Whisk in sugar, corn starch and lemon zest and continue whisking until blended. Bring to boil and, stirring constantly. Boil for two minutes or until glaze thickens. Remove from heat and stir in butter substitute and lemon juice. Glaze can be served while warm, or at room temperature.
  6. To serve, cut cake into squares and drizzle with glaze. Garnish with additional lemon zest, if desired.
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Huckleberry Ice Cream

Posted September 12, 2014 By sandy

Nothing beats a cold smooth bowl of ice cream on a hot summer day — and, of course, if it is huckleberry ice, it is even better.

I found this Huckleberry Ice Cream recipe — with just a hint of lavender — and just had to share it.  Recipe is from Beth Shephard and posted on her Wanderlust and Lipstick blog:

Huckleberry Ice Cream

Huckleberry  Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon culinary lavender
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup huckleberries

Instructions

  1. Heat the heavy cream, milk, and lavender buds in a medium saucepan, until it begins to bubble.
  2. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let the lavender steep for 30 minutes. Pour the mixture through a strainer to remove the lavender.
  3. Return the milk to the saucepan and heat until it almost reaches a boil.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until they become thick and pale. Slowly add the hot milk to the eggs, whisking constantly.
  5. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, continuously stirring until the mixture coats the back of the spoon (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat, pour the mixture through a strainer, and cool completely (either in the refrigerator in in a prepared ice bath). Stir in the vanilla, and fold in the huckleberries.
  6. Process in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions and store in freezer for up to one week.
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Huckleberry Lemon Bars

Posted September 5, 2014 By sandy

Seems we are on a roll for huckleberry baked desserts.

Check out this Huckleberry Lemon Bars recipe!

 

Huckleberry Lemon Bars

Huckleberry Lemon Bars

Ingredients

  • Cake
  • 1 16.25 oz. box lemon cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling
  • 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 16 oz. box confectionary sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 pint huckleberries

Instructions

  1. Combine cake mix, egg, zest, juice and butter in an electric mixer. Pat into a lightly greased 9 x 13 x 2 pan.
  2. Spread huckleberries over crust in a single layer.
  3. Next, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth, add eggs, lemon juice, zest and vanilla. Dump in confectionery sugar and beat well. Mix well.
  4. Pour onto cake mixture and spread evenly.
  5. Bake at 350* for 60 minutes. It should remain a little gooey in the center. Cool completely and cut into squares.
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Huckleberry Crumble Coffee Cake

Posted September 2, 2014 By sandy

Just found another berry recipe (Huckleberry Crumble Coffee Cake)  that translates very well by using huckleberries.

Here it is ….

Huckleberry Crumble Coffee Cake

Huckleberry Crumble Coffee Cake

Ingredients

  • For the crumble topping:
  • • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • • 1/2 cup flour
  • • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • For the cake:
  • • 2 cups flour
  • • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • • 3/4 cup sugar
  • • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • • 1 large egg
  • • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • • 3 cups fresh huckleberries (or frozen, do not thaw!)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Grease a 9″ square pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients, mixing together with a fork until crumbly; set aside.
  3. In another medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  4. In a large bowl, cream together the remaining butter and sugar. Blend in the egg and vanilla until smooth. Blend in the flour mixture and cream alternately, beginning and ending with the flour (flour, milk, flour, milk, flour). Fold in the berries. (The dough is quite stiff, so be patient as you’re folding in the berries! Don’t mush them up!)
  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the crumble topping.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool, and cut into 9 large squares.
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Sounds like a wonderful coffee cake!  (Original recipe here)

Enjoy!!

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Update on Huckleberry Grower

Posted August 30, 2014 By sandy

From our friend Joe Culbreth who is a huckleberry grower in Rathdrum, Idaho.  This is the email I received from Joe last spring:

We here at Berry & Nut Farm are not a research center for huckleberries,  but are are growing huckleberries. We started our huckleberry field in 2010, which now, consist of about 1 acre and about 1200 plants.

We purchased our plants from 4 different sources. Our oldest plants are now 4 years old and we hope to see some flowers any day.

My grandsons and I visited Dr Barney in 2009 or 2010 to learn about growing huckleberries and nut trees. We should have had a few more sessions as Dr Barney had lots of knowledge, more than we could take-in in a 2 hour visit.

A few days ago, I received the following correspondence with the pictures attached:

You can’t tell from the attached photos, but plants have recovered from last winter’s, winter kill. That sounds better than, I lost a years growth.

 

As for providing shade protection for huckleberries, (we have planted) blackberries and apple trees behind the huckleberry plants ….

 

Farm 2014 08 21 blk vs hb 015Will be adding a lot more sawdust this fall, will not be tucking-in each plant with pine needles as I have the past 4 winters. I will be crossing my fingers…

 

We wish Joe the best success with his huckleberry crop.  For more information on his Berry & Nut Farm, check out his website

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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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