Sandblasted Huckleberry and Chocolate Sweets

Posted July 26, 2017 By sandy

I found this yummy looking dessert on the yummly website (appropriately named!!) that I know is going to be a hit with the chocolate and huckleberry lovers.

 

Sandblasted Huckleberry & Chocolate Sweets

Sandblasted Huckleberry & Chocolate Sweets

Ingredients

  • Ingredients
  • servings:
  • 1 3/4 ounces shortbread cookies
  • 1 3/4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 3/16 cups dark chocolate
  • cream (10 cl. fresh)
  • jam (huckleberry)
  • hazelnuts (flaked)

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a blender, mix together the cookies and butter.
  2. Spread a layer in flexible molds, using the back of a small spoon to firmly pack the mixture.
  3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave.
  4. Heat the cream over the stove. Mix the cream into the melted chocolate.
  5. Add some huckleberry jam (approx. 1/2 teaspoon) in the center of each mold that has been pressed with the shortbreads.
  6. Pour the chocolate to fill the molds.
  7. Sprinkle with nuts and let chill before unmolding.
http://wildhuckleberry.com/2017/07/26/sandblasted-huckleberry-chocolate-sweets/

WOW!  Those “sweets”  look divine! 

If you make them, please share how they taste with the rest of us!!

Find more huckleberry recipes from Yummly here!

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Huckleberry Picking Reports around the Region

Posted July 22, 2017 By sandy

From the information we are receiving from huckleberry pickers, the crop is really looking abundant this season.

Around the web, stories are coming in from pickers around the area about their experiences in the woods.  Here are a few of them:

Huckleberry Picking Reports around the Region

 

Landers: Huckleberry pickers enjoying bumper crop

As predicted after seeing bountiful blooms during June hikes, the region is enjoying a bumper crop of huckleberries from all reports….

Happenings on the Hilltop

It’s huckleberry picking season again! Everyone’s favorite summer pastime has started. Huckleberries have been spotted out on Fidler and Mussleshell, among other local areas….

 

Protecting their turf: Huckleberry pickers know when they’ve struck purple gold

LOON LAKE, Wash. – It’s huckleberry season in the Inland Northwest, and pickers are staking their territory….

Huckleberry pickers typically won’t find the tarter, sweeter, and juicer version of the blueberry until they reach elevations beyond 4,000 feet.

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Huckleberries are not only enjoyed by avid pickers, but they are a major source of food for the grizzly bear.

According to the Daily Inter Lake website, 17-year old Hunter Dana found out how dangerous bears can be during his recent huckleberry picking expedition.

Berry picker has harrowing grizzly bear encounter

… Dana, of Columbia Falls, hiked up to his family’s usual huckleberry-picking spot near Hungry Horse and sat down to pick. Dana’s mother, Jennifer Wheat-Dana, said that her son reported “something didn’t feel right.”

One of Dana’s empty gallon jugs clanked against another jug and the sow came flying out of the woods.

“She kept coming after him,” Wheat-Dana said. “He would spray her, get away, and she was coming again. She followed him clear around the lake.”

At one point, the sow charged Dana, he sprayed her, and her nail caught his pant leg and tripped him. The spray had subdued her enough for him to get up and get moving, she said.

Dana is scratched from the underbrush and hit the ground hard but is uninjured. He lost his voice from screaming at the bear.

Dana’s father was on the phone with him during the attack, and simultaneously called 911 with a co-worker’s phone.

When Wheat-Dana arrived, Flathead County Sheriff’s deputies and a game warden had already arrived. Dana was picked up at the south end of the lake…

NBC Montana also picked up the story and included a video interview with Dana.  Check it out here: Kalispell teenager’s bear scare serves as a reminder. 

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Best Spots in Idaho to Pick Huckleberries

Posted July 6, 2017 By sandy

I know that telling folks your favorite huckleberry picking spot is just not done — at least not in Idaho!  But I can share with you the best areas, according to the Only in Your State website, to find and pick huckleberries.

Best Spots in Idaho to Pick Huckleberries

The 5 Best Places To Go Huckleberry Picking In Idaho This Summer

…Since huckleberries thrive at higher elevations, going into the mountains is a must. Berry picking season begins usually in mid-June and goes through August, but of course this varies based on weather and other factors. Many Idahoans are pretty tight-lipped about their favorite huckleberry picking spots, but this list contains some good places for you to start!

1. Coeur d’Alene National Forest … The Coeur d’Alene mountains are especially known for their great quantity of berries. Most people’s strategy is to pick a hiking trail and follow it until you spot a berry bush!

2. Priest Lake … Priest Lake is great if you’re looking for a camping-oriented excursion. It’s not hard to find a trove of huckleberry bushes here. There’s plenty for everyone!

3. Ponderosa State Park … Ponderosa State Park near McCall is a popular spot for berry pickers.

4. Teton Valley … The Teton Valley is located on the western slope of the Teton Mountains. Seasoned berry pickers know that if there is a sweet tartness in the air, berries are nearby.

5. Huckleberry Creek, Sawtooth Mountains … Aptly named, Huckleberry Creek is a great spot for huckleberry picking. It’s remote location ensures a certain amount of solitude while you’re out searching for berries. However, Idahoans aren’t the only lovers of huckleberries…please watch out for bears!

Check out the full article, including the beautiful, mouth-watering images!!

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Huckleberry Picking Video

Posted June 28, 2017 By sandy

You may love huckleberries, but if you pick them yourself, you REALLY have to love picking huckleberries.

Following is an informative 9 minute video on identifying, finding and picking  huckleberries.  The folks who filmed this video are well versed in wild berries, especially huckleberries.  If you watch closely, he identifies wild thimble-berries, currants and other plants that grow together with huckleberries:

Also, check out this light hearted 5 minute video, filming the long walk finding and picking huckleberries.  These folks are fun and persistant!!

And, ahhh, that stream looks so inviting:

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Reports of Bumper Huckleberry Crop for 2017

Posted June 23, 2017 By sandy

This time of the year the question for huckleberry lovers is what is the forecast for the huckleberry crop this year?

Heavy snow pack and the wet springs typically make great conditions for a good huckleberry crop.

Huckleberry Crop

Here is what Rick Landers, outdoor writer for the Spokesman Review, said about what he found while hiking in northern Idaho and northeastern Washington earlier this month:

I hiked several areas this past week and saw for myself. And I’ve received photos from several readers. All reports indicate huckleberry bushes loaded with blossoms from Pend Oreille County through the Idaho Pandhandle.

Of course, there could be some areas with less abundance, but for now the general forecasts is, well, SaaaWEET.

WONDERFUL NEWS!!

If you have been out and about in huckleberry country, please let us know what you found.  Pictures always welcome!

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The Pinchot Partners from the Packard, Washington area are working with the Gifford Pinchot National Forest to aid in the restoration of the forest and huckleberry crop.

According to The Chronicle, serving the greater Lewis County, Washington area, a meeting was held on May 24 to discuss the problem:

Those in attendance will learn about huckleberry areas in the forest and how the interested public can get involved with huckleberry restoration efforts. Information will also be available about huckleberry picking in the forest….

The Pinchot Partners and the Forest Service have worked together for the past seven years to improve huckleberry habitat. Harvesting trees commercially to “daylight” the huckleberry bushes, hand removal of competing vegetation, and conducting prescribed burning are all methods that can improve huckleberry production.

The Pinchot Partners was recently awarded two grants from the Weyerhaeuser Family Foundation to develop a forestwide strategy for restoring huckleberry habitat in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. 

In a follow up article from The Chronicle, the issue facing the Gifford Pinchot National Forest was described in detail:

As it turns out, huckleberries need a little bit of assistance from either nature or human hands in order to thrive among the dense thickets of forest that blanket the Cascade foothills. Namely, huckleberries require plenty of open canopy space in order to grow and ripen. Over the last 120 years, a combination of changing logging practices and increased fire suppression has created a forest that is choking out the once common huckleberry.

“Native Americans used to do burning to keep areas open and even logging helped,” explained Jamie Tolfree, coordinator for the Pinchot Partners. “The habitat is encroaching, bottom line.”

As the forest came under control of the U.S. Forest Service and logging operations began to dwindle, the forest grew denser. During that same time, Native Americans lost their right to conduct the controlled burns that cleared the underbrush where huckleberry bushes grow, and increasingly aggressive wildfire suppression efforts have prevented the natural thinning of timber stands.

John Squires, treasurer for the Pinchot Partners, says he’s been an eyewitness over the last few decades as formerly prime huckleberry habitat has begun to wither.

“I can remember being purple handed and purple faced and bringing my dad not very many huckleberries because most of them went in my mouth,” said Squires with a smile.

Squires used to regularly go picking up at the Midway Guard Station. Now, he says the terrain is covered in trees too thick to let the sun shine through. 

“You see the meadows just getting smaller and smaller,” said Squires, who estimates that about three-quarters of the huckleberry habitat in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest has been lost over the past 50 years or so. “We feel that if we’re not proactive and manage it appropriately it will disappear.”

In spite of the changing landscape, Squires still goes picking, but the task is much more difficult than before. He says he prefers to look in old clearcuts, but refused to divulge much more information than that. It seems huckleberry gatherers are as protective of their prime spots as golddiggers and mushroom pickers. 

“I’ll never tell you where I go picking,” said Squires. “That’s proprietary information.”

Squires said prime huckleberry season usually stretches from the end of July to the end of September, and amateur huckleberry hounds like himself don’t need a permit to go picking so long as they pick no more than 1 gallon per day or 3 gallons in a year. With huckleberries selling upwards of $30 per pound these days, Squires says that the health of their habitat is vital to the economy of Lewis County and other rural counties in Washington. He noted that huckleberries have never been domesticated, and commercial huckleberry harvesting permits typically sell out within two hours when they go on sale. 

After identifying the need to address the huckleberry problem eight years ago, the first hands-on huckleberry management efforts that the Pinchot Partners were involved in began about four years later. Those efforts include commercial logging of tall timbers and non-commercial cuts intended to clear out spindly trees and thick underbrush. The Pinchot Partners hope to monitor those sites as long as possible in order to study how those clearing efforts help to bring bright blue, purple and orange berries back to the landscape….

More info about the Gifford Pinchot National Forest

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Huckleberry Butter Cake with Lemon Glaze

Posted May 17, 2017 By sandy

We are on a roll with decadent huckleberry cakes recipes!   Here is a beautiful huckleberry butter bundt cake — perfect for company or any special occasion!

Huckleberry Butter Cake with Lemon Glaze

Huckleberry Butter Cake with Lemon Glaze

Ingredients

    Cake
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 sticks real butter, softened (8 oz.)
  • 4 extra-large eggs, room temp.
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups frozen huckleberries, can sub blueberries, raspberries or wild blackberries
  • Lemon Glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, (scoop and level method)
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. very soft butter
  • 1-2 tsp. milk or cream, to desired consistency adding 1 tsp. at a time

Instructions

    Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease and lightly flour bundt pan. Set aside.
  2. Add flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder to your flour sifter. Sift into large bowl, not mixer bowl though. After sifting, stir a few times with a whisk to evenly mix ingredients into flour. Set aside.
  3. In mixing bowl, cream sugar and butter. Beat in eggs. Beat in vanilla, lemon juice and milk. Add dry ingredients all at once, and beat on low just until moistened, then beat on medium for 2 minutes. Gently fold in frozen huckleberries.
  4. Pour into prepared bundt cake pan and pop into preheated 400 degree oven. Bake for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and bake 40 minutes longer. Cool in pan 10-15 minutes. *If it appears to be sticking anywhere, loosen upper sides with a knife. Place serving plate or cake stand on top and turn over. Tap top and sides with a the butt end of a knife to loosen and carefully lift up pan to remove. If it doesn’t lift up, just tap a few more times until it releases easily. Let cool completely.
  5. When cool, dust top with lots of powdered sugar or make a lemon glaze. Store covered.
  6. Lemon Glaze
  7. Dump powdered sugar into medium bowl, stir in lemon juice and very soft butter. Stir in milk, one teaspoon at a time, until smooth. Pour over cooled cake.
http://wildhuckleberry.com/2017/05/17/huckleberry-butter-cake-lemon-glaze/

Check out the original article from Wildflour’s Cottage Kitchen

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Huckleberry Tea Cake

Posted May 3, 2017 By sandy

Huckleberry Tea Cake recipe is from a blog called Hungry Cravings.  According to the article, these huckleberry ‘newbies’ (or at least newbies when the article was written a few years back) became Huckleberry Lovers after picking in the Sawtooth Berry Fields near Mt. Adams, Washington.

Huckleberry Tea Cake

Huckleberry Tea Cake

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 9 ounces cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 10 ounces sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces sour cream, at room temperature
  • 6 ounces huckleberries
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9×3-inch round cheesecake pan, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly combined and then beat in the vanilla extract.
  3. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then ½ of the sour cream, then 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the remaining ½ of the sour cream, and then the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture, mixing on low for only a few seconds after each addition until just combined, and stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gently fold in the huckleberries. Do not overmix.
  4. Transfer to the cake pan and spread evenly. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the edges of the cake start to shrink away from the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and finish cooling completely. Dust with plenty of powdered sugar, cut into portions, and serve.
  6. Makes 1 9-inch cake, serving 8. Huckleberries have a short summer season. Small blueberries make a fine substitute if huckleberries are unavailable. If you can get your hands on it, use Tahitian vanilla, which has a uniquely floral character. Use a springform pan if you don't have a cheesecake pan.

Notes

Makes 1 9-inch cake, serving 8. Huckleberries have a short summer season. If you can get your hands on it, use Tahitian vanilla, which has a uniquely floral character. Use a springform pan if you don't have a cheesecake pan.

http://wildhuckleberry.com/2017/05/03/huckleberry-tea-cake/

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Tips on Growing Huckleberries

Posted April 12, 2017 By sandy

The Wild Huckleberry Association’s favorite resource on growing huckleberries is Dr. Dan Barney’s Book:  Growing Western Huckleberries (link to book or pdf file is listed near the bottom of our Resource Page.)

Once in awhile, we run across a article with some excellent tips on growing huckleberries.  One such article, by Amy Grant, is from the Gardening Know How website:

Tips on Growing Huckleberries

Here are excerpts from her article:

Huckleberry Plant Care – Tips For Planting Huckleberries

… Keep in mind that the species requires moist, acidic soil anywhere from a pH range of 4.3 to 5.2 when planting your huckleberries. Also when planting huckleberries, they may be situated in either sun or shade, although you will get a better yield and larger, lusher plants in shaded areas.
 
Between April and May, expect the western huckleberry to flower, provided you live in USDA zones 7-9 where the specimen is recommended for planting. It is often found in mid-alpine regions and will thrive if you have similar conditions. Propagation can be from transplanting, rhizome cuttings or seeding.
 
Transplanting wild bushes is difficult due to their lack of centralized root systems, although this may be attempted in late fall to early winter. Grow the huckleberries in a pot for one to two years in a peat moss based soil before transplanting to the garden.
 

You may also start growing huckleberries via rhizome, not stem, cutting. Collect the rhizome cuttings in late winter or early spring, in 4-inch long sections buried in sand-filled nursery flats. Do not dip in rooting compound. Keep flats misted or covered with clear film to retain moisture. Once the cuttings have 1 – to 2-inch long roots and shoots, transplant into 1-gallon pots with peat moss based soil.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Huckleberry Plant Care – Tips For Planting Huckleberries

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