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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Huckleberry Picking 2014!!

Posted August 5, 2014 By sandy

With the ‘bonkers’ huckleberry season, picking stories are becoming as abundant as the berries.  Huckleberry picking is a fun adventure for outdoor enthusiasts and most love to share their stories — but not their private picking spot or their precious huckleberry stash!!

Huckleberries 2 rd

Two stories in particular stood out — sharing here:

Huckleberry Heaven

Meet the people who hunt down the elusive Northwest treat

…When you move to or visit the Inland Northwest, you are quickly initiated into huckleberry culture. From drive-throughs to fine dining, huckleberries feature prominently on menus in the summer months. The variety of huckleberry products available year-round at country markets and groceries is vast, if not a little obsessive. Tea, taffy, barbecue sauce, gummy candy, jams, jellies, syrups, all varieties of baked goods and even lip balm line shelves, providing huckleberry fans with accessibility to the popular and distinctively local berry any time of year.

Becoming a huckleberry devotee takes little effort. The perfume and flavor of huckleberries are like no other, and the enigmatic nature of the shrubs — they require specific soil conditions, temperatures and elevations to thrive — give them a certain mythical status. Late spring freezes can destroy entire huckleberry stands, and domesticating the bush has been virtually impossible….

READ THE FULL STORY

Our second story is really cute — featuring a two-year old and many pictures!  I especially liked the picture of their metal picker!

Huckleberries!

It’s huckleberry season in the Kootenays! Add in a two-year-old, and the fun multiplies. Handling the supply of honey buckets on the trip up the mountain in the backseat of Grampa’s truck occupied her endlessly!

READ THE FULL STORY

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Huckleberry Jam & Pie Recipes

Posted July 31, 2014 By sandy

If you have come home from a huckleberry picking outing with a bucket, or two, or three filled with huckleberries, congrats!

(If you haven’t picked any huckleberries yet this season, best to get out there as this looks like the best huckleberry season in 12 years or so!!)

So what do you plan to do with all your juicy, free picked little berries?

Favorite recipes are for huckleberry jam and pie!

The Kansas City Star posted an article (yup, you read that right, Kansas City!!) with recipes for both pie and basic jam using huckleberries …..

Huckleberries 4

Not too sweet or sour make huckleberries perfect fit for recipes

… Huckleberries are typically smaller than a blueberry, not too sweet, not too sour, just right. Your huckleberry.

Many types of wild berries have been deemed a “huckleberry,” a term derived from “hurtleberry” meaning any blue colored berry found in the forest. The varietals are now more specific ranging from deep eggplant purple to dark lavender and some are even.

The northwest supplies most of the huckleberries. While foraging for them in the wild, one may have to negotiate with the native bears for harvest.

Basic Huckleberry Jam Recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 cups huckleberries, boiled
  • 3/4 cups honey
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 cup water

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer on medium high heat for 20 minutes, or until syrupy. Remove from heat.
  2. At this point you can cool and refrigerate. This jam condiment can be added to muffins, pancakes, sauces or just spread on a buttery piece of brioche.
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Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/chow-town/article802839.html#storylink=cpy

 READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE for the Huckleberry Pie recipe.  And if you try the recipes, let us know what you think!

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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:

DSC02909

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.

 READ THE FULL ARTICLE

 

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Mining Huckleberries?

Posted July 26, 2014 By sandy

The Spokesman Review is entertaining us with another interesting article on huckleberry picking — or mining huckleberries!  And this guy has obviously been there ….

800px-Vaccinium_membranaceum_Fruit

Mining for purple: Huckleberry pickers wear stains with pride

By Alan Liere

…Huckleberry stains are among the worst ever, soaking through jeans and even underwear, but they are an indication of a successful day picking. These butt stains are not as impressive as a tattoo of a three-headed, fire-breathing serpent wrapped around a sailing ship, of course, but they are worn proudly and last about a week. On bare skin, they create an interesting purple pattern that looks like a massive hematoma.

Some folks count their money. Others count their huckleberries. Those who do not pick huckleberries have no idea what is involved. Otherwise intelligent, reasonable folks have said to me, “You’re going huckleberry picking? I just love huckleberries! Pick me enough for a couple pies.”

“A couple” huckleberry pies take a half gallon of huckleberries. That’s two hours (in a great year) of sitting in a patch or bending over low bushes on a side hill in the woods, sweating, swatting back flies, and listening to the depressingly slow “plink” of a small purple berry hitting the bottom of a metal bucket. Pick you enough for a couple pies, indeed! And while I’m at it, why don’t I pick you up a couple nice ribeye and a bottle of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon? ….

READ THE REST OF THIS HUMOROUS STORY

Huckleberry zucchini pie, anyone???

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2014 Huckleberry Season Looking Good!

Posted July 24, 2014 By sandy

We have heard from many pickers around the Rocky Mountain region that this years huckleberry crop is as good — or maybe even better — than the 2009 season.  Rainfall and spring temps were ideal for growing a bumper crop of juicy huckleberries.

Huckleberry Season

The Spokesman Review has picked up on the excitement in their recent article:

Landers: Huckleberry season has pickers bursting with excitement

…The huckleberry season is underway at lower elevations and the pleasure is working its way up the region’s mountainsides as the berries ripen….

…The picking season generally starts in this region in the first or second week of July at elevations around 2,400 feet, such as the stretch of lowland between Priest River and Priest Lake. Snow cover is needed to insulate the plants to survive during the winter, so huckleberries are rarely found at lower elevations.

The berries are ripening at higher elevations this week, but the peak range of ripe berries occurs in August….

…“Last week I was in the woods with some friends and we found many ripe huckleberries and many more that were not yet ripe,” said Phil Cooper, Idaho Fish and Game conservation educator in Coeur d’Alene.  “Most plants were very heavy with berries, so it should be a banner year for picking.”…

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Yes, it sounds like a good year to go huckleberry picking!

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Huckleberry Festivals

Posted July 23, 2014 By sandy

The Spokesman Review is posting upcoming Huckleberry Festivals around the northern Rockies.

Here are two that are were featured in the Review’s website:

Huckleberry Festivals

Sorry to see we missed the Priest Lake Huckleberry Festival, but it is not too late to check our the Schweitzer Mountain Huckleberry Festival.

Watch for more festivals are they are posted!

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