Foraging, Cleaning and Preserving Huckleberries

With the wonderful huckleberry season we are experiencing in the Rocky Mountain region, articles about huckleberries are cropping up almost daily!

The Montana Homestead website posted a great article on foraging, cleaning and preserving huckleberries that is a wonderful guide for newbies and experienced pickers.

Here are some of the highlights from the article:


Foraging and Preserving Huckleberries

Foraging For Huckleberries

In the past, we  just picked huckleberries by hand. We used these homemade berry picking buckets that worked great. They are made out of plastic one gallon juice or vinegar containers cut off at the top. We made a slit in the plastic sides and tied a long piece of hemp cord to each side to create a strap. These homemade berry picking buckets work great to free up both hands for picking….

Cleaning Huckleberries

To clean the huckleberries, I pour them into a large bowl and cover them with water. The leaves and stems float to the top. This makes it easy to scoop them off the top with my hands and put them in the pile to be composted. Once the leaves and sticks have been removed from the water, look for any green unripe berries to remove. …

Preserving Huckleberries

The easiest way to preserve huckleberries is to freeze them. I’ve tried a couple different techniques over the years and found the simple easy way has worked the best. …

…after I clean the huckleberries and let them dry in the colander, I pack them directly into zip close plastic bags. I pack two cups in each bag and use the DIY method of vacuum sealing I mentioned in this post. Packing the huckleberries into bags this way without pre-freezing them on a cookie sheet is quick and easy. We never have issues with the huckleberries sticking together doing it this way. We also don’t have any issues with the huckleberries getting freezer burnt since we let them dry out before being packed into bags.





  1. Comment by robin:

    please don’t ever float your berries it takes away the true flavor of the berries ..we have done this for 20yrs.

  2. Comment by sandy:

    Just so we all understand, what do you mean by “float your berries”.

    And can you tell us how you clean your huckleberries?


  3. Comment by Ben:

    Do not wash your berries. For one they have a natural protectant. For 2 you will lose flavor. Trust me I know what I`m talking about. Float your berries means in water.

  4. Comment by Ron Elmore:

    The best way to clean your berrys is pour them onto a large towel, than pick all stems and leafs clean. With two people, it goes pretty fast, than put then on a cookie sheet and freeze. After frozen we put them in food saver bags. We’ve had berry last 9 to 10 years with no problems. We pick like crazy on good years, that way on bad years we have plenty to hold us over till another good one. We’ve had times when we would go 3 years without picking, and still had back up in the freezer. In 20 years we’ve never been without Huckelberrys. This year 2014 we picked so many berrys, Ive made lots of Huckleberry Applesauce, and Huckleberry Apple Butter with plenty to spare for years.

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