Huckleberry News Stories Archive

Huckleberry Forecast from Montana

Posted June 24, 2015 By sandy

After the bumper crop of huckleberries last season, folk are wondering about this year’s huckleberry forecast.

Here is one researcher’s perspective on the Glacier National Park huckleberries:

WEST GLACIER – Tabitha Graves can’t say this will be a bad year for huckleberries, even Huckleberry forecast from Montana though four of the five sites she is monitoring in the West Glacier area show berry production is down 75 percent to 95 percent from last year.

But the fifth is showing the same number of berries as 2014, when a bumper crop was Huckleberry forecast in Montanaproduced after a wet, cool spring.

And Graves, a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, doesn’t yet know what the huckleberry crop at higher elevations – where bushes are just popping out from under snow – will be like this summer.

“It could still be a great year if the berries at the higher elevations grow,” Graves says….

The five sites being monitored in the area are among a dozen in the park. Here, the elevation is close to 3,200 feet, but Graves also has sites as high as approximately 6,500 feet – one near Sperry Chalet, where mountain peaks block sunlight for much of the day, and another on (how could she not) Huckleberry Mountain, which is in the open and exposed to much sunlight.

“Some years, the crop will be good in one place and bad in others,” Graves says. Her goal is to figure out why…

To aid the research, Graves has set up remote cameras at all 12 sites that snap pictures, from a distance of 18 inches, of huckleberry bushes four to five times a day throughout the growing season.

She can see them when they’re budding, see them when they’re flowering, see them at the “saucer” stage (so called because “they look like flying saucers,” Graves explains), see them when they resemble tulips, see them when the berries are green, see them when they’re ripe…

The pilot project began last year during the bumper crop, which is why Graves knows that this year, one of her sites has just 5 percent of the berries that were produced last year, three more have just 25 percent, and one is humming along at last year’s rate.

READ FULL STORY

At this point, it all remains to be seen what happens here and elsewhere with the huckleberry crop.

If anyone has any further information, please share with us.

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Huckleberry Recipes and Facts

Posted December 10, 2014 By sandy

We have been incredibly busy!  With all the orders for huckleberry products we are filling from our Tastes of Idaho website, I really didn’t have time to come up with a tantalizing post!  Instead, I did a quick web search on huckleberries and discovered a few interesting sites and information.

First, I found a list of 101 recipes using huckleberries!!  Yes, 101!!

If you are adventurous, here is the link: Huckleberries on Yahoo.

Huckleberry Recipes and Facts

Huckleberry patches in northern Idaho mountains

Another article I found interesting is from Wise Geek:  What are Huckleberries

Huckleberry is the name for a number of different shrubs in the Ericaceae family, which also includes blueberries and cranberries. Plants with this name come primarily from two genera: Gaylussacia and Vaccinium. The berries are small and round, with a similar appearance to blueberries, though their color may range instead from deep crimson to eggplant purple. The taste is also often compared to that of blueberries, although it is distinct.

The different types of huckleberries include the black, box, dwarf, and thinleaf. Red ones grow primarily in the western part of North America, preferring slightly acidic soils in the coastal regions. The black and dwarf plants grow mostly in the mid- and eastern part of the continent, while the woolly and Confederate huckleberry grow in the southern US. These plants haven’t been domesticated, and different varieties grow wild throughout North America.

The berries ripen in mid- to late summer, often reaching their peak in August, although this can depend of the variety, location, and growing conditions. Very few are available in grocery stores; the best place to look for them is either in the wild or at local farmer’s markets. Since they are not grown commercially, they are often more expensive than other berries.

It is generally recommended that people avoid picking the berries in early evening or early morning hours, especially in relatively remote areas. They are a favorite food of bears, including brown and black bears, and grizzlies. In fact, bears are famous for quickly eating huckleberries, since the high sugar helps them store fat for long and lean winters.

The fruit can be used much like blueberries, and they make good jams, pies, cobblers or preserves. It may also be possible to buy jam or syrup and occasionally fresh berries from a variety of Internet sites.

There are a few reasons why this species of berry has not adapted well to commercial farming. The plants take a number of years to grow to maturity and produce fruit, and they also prefer acidic soils. Another reason farmers tend not to bother with them is because they have to be handpicked. Machines that pick blueberries don’t work well with huckleberries, so harvesting them is more labor intensive. Research is being done to find ways to make the berry more easily cultivated.

The relative rarity and difficulty in obtaining huckleberries translates to significant cost. They are usually sold in frozen packages. It is much harder to find fresh ones, and their availability is often limited to areas in which they flourish in the wild.

 

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Huckleberries on Pinterest

Posted December 4, 2014 By sandy

Pinterest is newer to the internet than our Wild Huckleberry website.  Despite that, numerous huckleberry sites and Pinterest boards have cropped up since then and share some wonderful recipes.

Over the last several months, we have liked a few Pinterest pages on huckleberries that are very interesting.

But, first, before I share what I found, let me ask you to check out our Huckleberries on Pinterest page:

Huckleberries!

Huckleberries on Pinterest

Here are some of the Pinterest board I found that feature huckleberries and huckleberry recipes (And yes, I know they mostly have the same name — misspellings and all — but here they are):

If you have a huckleberry Pinterest board and it is not listed here, please share in the comments below!

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Huckleberries on the Coast

Posted October 9, 2013 By sandy

“There is no shortage of huckleberry products out there …” writes Linda Stansberry in the North Coast Journal from California.

Linda talks about the many different huckleberry products she has tasted:

I have encountered huckleberry candy and huckleberry barbecue sauce, and last week I drank some huckleberry tea. They’re all disappointing. Nothing matches the taste of an actual, freshly picked huckleberry. These tiny blue-black orbs take forever to ripen, but they have a unique tangy-sweet flavor that makes them perfect for pies and other pastries.

NOTE:  If you are looking for huckleberry products, check out these two websites:

HB Pancake syrup section

She also talks about her picking experience with a Huckleberry Rake:

To my great surprise, the harvester was a success! The claw slid neatly along the branches of the bush and popped the berries off one by one, leaving most of the leaves. Within in an hour I had come close to filling my little plastic container. Granted, the harvester didn’t distinguish from the ripe, the almost ripe and the green, and there were still plenty of leaves and pine needles in my bounty, but I was impressed!

Her story is enjoyable …. and if you can’t find anything else of interest, make sure to check out her Huckleberry-Apple Pie Recipe!!

Enjoy the full article!…. And save me a piece of her pie!!

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All About Huckleberries

Posted September 26, 2013 By sandy

Huckleberry season is definitely winning down — it appears to have been a good year for huckleberries and those picking them in the wilds!

But it is always time to learn more about huckleberries.

I found this excellent article the other day and wanted to share it with you:

Huckleberries

Wine Forest huckleberries

Vaccininum membranceum/ Globare (complex)’ V. ovatum; Gaylussacia species

The delightful word huckleberry, means one kind of berry in Massachusetts, another kind in Missouri, another in Montana, and yet another at America’s edge along the Mendocino coast. This same charming name is used for at least six species of purple berries. Like the orthodox devotion to one’s regional BBQ, every region knows that their type of huckleberry is superior. I personally adore our Pacific coastal evergreen huckleberries, V. ovatum, while my friends in Montana think I’m crazy to like those tiny tart berry ball compared to their big fat sweet berries.

The article talks further about the huckleberries in three distinct regions:

  • “Mountain” Huckleberry
  • Coastal Evergreen Huckleberry
  • Eastern Huckleberry

Also, there is a section on the following:

  1. Cleaning
  2. Harvesting
  3. Seasonality
  4. Preservation
  5. Cooking
  6. Storage

Check out the complete article

 

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Huckleberries in Oregon

Posted September 11, 2013 By sandy

As the seasons whines down in Montana and Idaho, the huckleberry season is going strong in parts Washington and Oregon.

Wild Pacific Northwest: Huckleberries

Wild Pacific Northwest: Huckleberries

Oval-leaved Huckleberry, Vaccinium ovalifolium (photo by Ivan Phillipsen).

Of all the plant species that produce edible berries in the Northwest – and there are quite a few – huckleberries have to be the most celebrated.

The abundant, delicious berries can be found in the Coast Range, Cascade Range, and Olympic Mountains in mid-summer through early autumn (in any given area, the timing of fruit production depends on the species, elevation, and other environmental factors).

As the article continues, the author talks about the history of huckleberries and the Native Americans; how to identify huckleberries; and huckleberry picking tips.

Very interesting and informative!  Also, there is a link to the health benefits of huckleberries.

READ FULL ARTICLE

NOTE:  Unfortunately, this particular article uses blueberry and huckleberry interchangeable.  Both are different berries, but the characteristics are similar.  We always tell folks that huckleberries are blueberries on steriods!!

For more info on the difference between Huckleberries and Blueberries, check this link:  Huckleberries vs. Blueberries

For more information on the Health Benefits of Huckleberry, click here:  Health Benefits 

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More Huckleberry Reports from Montana

Posted August 21, 2013 By sandy

The high heat shortened the cherry harvest, but huckleberries in the Flathead may just be a little sweeter this year.Typically, huckleberry season kicks off on the Fourth of July. This year the huckleberry harvest began on July 5. Right now, we are in the height of the huckleberry season.

Fresh berries will continue to be picked until the first frost, likely up until October.

The owner of the Apple Barrel in Kalispell, David Cordell, expects this year to be a bumper crop with bumped up revenue.

“The crop looks very clean and we try to really hone in on hand picked stuff, kind of a higher quality than anything torn or any juicy stuff. So they’ve been really…the quality’s been higher, I think,” said Cordell.

Cordell credits the nightly rain and the hot, dry days for the success of this year’s huckleberry harvest.

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Huckleberries in Washington

Posted August 15, 2013 By sandy

The Olympian share that huckleberries are ripe in parts of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in southern Washington.

For those wanting to pick in this area need to be aware of a couple regulations:

  1. Picking berries for personal use is free, but commercial pickers must obtain a permit.
  2. Pickers harvesting more than three gallons, or selling any quantity, must obtain a permit.
    Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2013/08/11/2667358/picking-permits-huckleberry-season.html#storylink=cpy
  3. The use of rakes or other mechanical picking devices are not allowed on the forest.
  4. Areas closed to personal or commercial pickers include the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, legislated Wilderness Areas and the “Handshake Agreement” area of Sawtooth Berry Fields.

The article does describe a few areas where pickers can find huckleberry bushes (a most guarded secret for most people).

Huckleberry Patch 4

Check out the ENTIRE ARTICLE for more details.

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Huckleberries in Montana

Posted August 13, 2013 By sandy

As the huckleberry season progresses, we are receiving reports about huckleberries from all over the Rocky Mountain region.  In the last week, two article about Huckleberries in Montana were published.

Our first story warns pickers about huckleberries and bears!

Huckleberries in MT are “Beary” Good

BOZEMAN, Mont. – It’s huckleberry season in Montana, and people aren’t the only ones looking for the sweet treats. Bears love them, too.

Surprise encounters aren’t good for either party, said wildlife biologist Erin Edge, Rockies and Plains associate for Defenders of Wildlife, so it’s best to be “bear aware” if out harvesting the fruit – and let the bears know you’re there.

“Talk while you’re in areas that are dense with brush, have berries around, anytime you’re in bear habitat,” Edge said.

READ FULL STORY

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Our second story includes a video interview from a store in the Flathead, Montana area:

Huckleberries selling fast in Flathead

Like cherries, huckleberries are a favorite fruit of many in the flathead.

The season has been underway for just a few weeks, and since they are a wild fruit, you have to head out into the wilderness to find them.

We wanted to find out what the crop was looking like this year, so we went out toward Hungry Horse where we’re told there are a lot of huckleberries growing. After combing the sides of the roads and hiking into the trails a little bit, we didn’t find many, meaning pickers have already made their way there.

READ FULL STORY

How is the huckleberry crop in your part of the world?

We would love it if you share your story with us!

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Huckleberries in Michigan

Posted August 7, 2013 By sandy

Here in the upper Rocky Mountain region, huckleberries are famous — but sometimes we forget that huckleberries grow in other parts of the country.  Maybe they are not the same huckleberries that are grown in Idaho and Montana, but huckleberries all the same.

So for our upper midwest friends and readers, I found an article focusing on huckleberries in Michigan.

Listed in this article is the following information:

  • History of huckleberries in Michigan
  • Habitat where huckleberries in Michigan grow
  • Huckleberry pie recipe
  • Pictures of huckleberries in Michigan

Check out the article here (sorry, web guidelines from this site does not allow me to post any of the article here):

Michigan huckleberries: small berries, big local history

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Huckleberry Bundt Cake

 

And, if you are looking for more huckleberry recipes, I ran across a great Pinterest Board with lots of huckleberry recipes.

The Huckleberry board includes recipes for pies, cakes, buckles, cobbler,  muffins, crisp, scones, bars & cookies, tarts, pudding, ice cream, cheesecake, drinks, jam ….. and on and on … 85 pins in all.  She also features a few of our recipes and our huckleberry rakes!

Thanks Mary Gates for the wonderful board!

Check it out here:  Huckleberry/recipes

 

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