All About Huckleberries

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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Tips in Creating a Custom-Made Huckleberry Wedding Cake

The era of wedding cakes with two plastic figurines standing on top of them is a thing of the past. Wedding cake designs as of late, integrate the practice of infusing traditionally-tiered wedding cakes with fruits. For example, Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton had an 8-tiered fruit cake with a stunning white icing. On the other hand, American film producer Kyle Newman and White Chicks star Jaime King served a three-tier berry and coconut cake ornamented with roses. Fruits are in and since we advocate huckleberries for their health benefits, we suggest choosing them as an ingredient to give your wedding cake a nutritious and flavorful twist.

huckleberry-mousse-white-chocolate-mousse-white-chocolate-buttercream-vanilla-bean-cake Decide on a number of tiers

Before you begin thinking about your cake’s contents and design, you should first decide on how many layers it would have. A basic three-tiered wedding cake can accommodate around 100 people. In addition, you should take into consideration the diet of your wedding guests. For example, the M&S Wedding Cake section includes the complete ingredients of each cake and indicates whether a cake is gluten-free or safe for vegetarians to eat. Nuts are common allergens so you should consider serving nut-free cakes as well.

Healthier wedding cakes

Wedding cakes can push healthy limits for sugar content, if you’re not careful in choosing the ingredients. Fruits and berries add more natural sweetness, and are more easily metabolized and digested than their processed counterparts. Huckleberries are also loaded with levels of anti-oxidants that exceed even blueberries… and with a much richer flavor when used in concert with traditional wedding cake sweeteners. Available fresh in season, or frozen year round, huckleberries make a unique and healthy alternative to traditional wedding cake fare.

Cake topping

Putting huckleberry filling on top of your cake is also great idea. If you think putting fresh huckleberries on top of your wedding cake is too simple, you may replace them with huckleberry jam. To get an idea on how it tastes like on cake, you may check out the site’s free huckleberry recipes section for easy tips on how to make your own.

Working with your wedding florists

To elevate the visual appearance of cakes, they are decorated with floral arrangements. If you decide to decorate your wedding cake with flowers, make sure to use colors that match it. Huckleberries have a natural deep purple color but some can be a bit bluish. Purple flowers such as Orchids and Calla Lily compliment huckleberries’ natural colors. If they’re bluish, blue tinted roses or blue daisies are suggested.

Remember, a great wedding cake is all about details and decoration. By choosing the right tier, ingredients, and complimenting colors, you will have the perfect wedding cake on your special day.

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Huckleberries in Oregon

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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History of Huckleberries

Most of us love huckleberries — but do you know the History of Huckleberries?

Always looking for some good huckleberry articles to feature here, I found the following article from the What’s Cooking America’s website.

Here are some interesting facts from the article:

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Did You Know? 

*Evidence has been found the the huckleberry actually got its name from a simple mistake. Early American colonist, upon encountering the native American berry, misidentified it as the European blueberry known as the “hurtleberry,” by which name it was called until around 1670 it was corrupted to become know as the “huckleberry.”

*Often confused with the blueberry due to its close resemblance, huckleberries are a wild blue-black berry. Although very similar in taste, the big difference is the seeds within the huckleberry that give it a crunchy texture when fresh and its thicker skin. The flavor is a little more tart than blueberries, with an intense blueberry flavor.

*Huckleberries have been a staple of life for Northwest and Rocky Mountain Native American tribes for thousands of years. In the Journals of Lewis and Clark, they wrote of the tribes west of the Rocky Mountains using dried berries extensively in 1806 and 1806.

*Northwest tribes made special combs of wood or salmon backbones to strip huckleberries off the bushes. They dried the berries in the sun or smoked them and then mashed them into cakes and wrapped these in leaves or bark for storage.

READ FULL ARTICLE

And while you are on the site, make sure to click on the link to access her huckleberry pie recipe!

 

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Huckleberry Pickers Not Allowed in Some Areas!

As you know, we sell huckleberry picking rakes.  Rakes can increase your yield 4 to 10 times in the same amount of time as picking by hand.  Our rakes, in particular, are light weight and easy to use.

(If you want more info on our huckleberry rakes, check out our website, Huckleberry Rake. where you will find videos, pictures and written instructions.)

But too much mis-information floats around the web and elsewhere about huckleberry picking rakes.  Rather than list all the reasons why huckleberry rakes are safe, I have prepared a mini-website that addresses those issues here:  Huckleberry Picking Tool Myths.

Dr. Barney at Elk River, Idaho

Over the years, we have worked with Dr. Dan Barney — affectionately known as Dr. Huckleberry — who was the leading expert on huckleberries at the University of Idaho.  He not only tested our rakes, he also endorsed them (info on the site noted above).  Unfortunately, the UI closed his huckleberry project in Sandpoint a few years ago and he is else doing other plant related research.

Then only location we are aware of that bans the use of huckleberry picking rakes is the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington.  (There has been a report that they are also banned in some places in Oregon, but we have been unable to confirm the report at this time.)

The Forest Service Gifford Pinchot National Forest site is filled with interesting information on huckleberries such as:

  • Changes in Washington law regarding the sale of Wild Huckleberries
  • History of huckleberries
  • Development of berry fields
  • Safety while picking
  • Questions and Answers about huckleberries

Should you decide to pick huckleberries (or any other berry or forest grown items) on forest service lands or national forests, I suggest you check with the local forest service office for details and regulations.

In the meantime, enjoy your berries!!

 

 

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More Huckleberry Reports from Montana

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

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

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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34th Annual Huckleberry Festival

Trout Creek, Montana is celebrating their 34th Annual Huckleberry Festival this weekend, August 9, 10 and 11, 2013.

According to the CDA Press:

The first festival was launched decades ago by a group of artists, as a venue for them to sell their creations. Vendors of fresh-picked huckleberries joined in also.

The event, put on by volunteers, has grown to more than 100 booths of All-American made arts and craft items and treats to eat, all prepared by local nonprofits.

Many food items available feature the festival’s “purple gold” namesake which can be found in ice cream, on cheesecake, in drinks, and even atop Polish dogs.

People flock to the event each year to taste and purchase the berries, sold on the park grounds to benefit the festival.

Huckleberries, rd

Find out more information about the Trout Creek Huckleberry Festival.

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Huckleberry Days Art Festival

Huckleberry season is upon us — and so are the various huckleberry festivals around the inland north west.

Whitefish hosts one of the best known huckleberry festival in western Montana.  Here is the information on the Festival scheduled for this weekend, August 9-11, 2013.

Celebrating Art and Huckleberries

One of the biggest art festivals in Whitefish taking place Aug. 9-11

Huckleberry Days is one of the biggest art festivals hosted in Whitefish over the summer, drawing in thousands of patrons and more than 100 vendor booths, according to Sarah Stewart, business manager at the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s festival takes place from Aug. 9 to Aug. 11 in Depot Park. Stewart, who organizes the festival for the chamber, said this year’s event would match expectations built up after previous successful festivals.

One of the main attractions at Huckleberry Days is the bake-off. Now in its fourth year, the competition pits local bakers against one another in a challenge to create the best huckleberry-themed dessert in the valley.

READ FULL ARTICLE for more details!

599276_442194259164507_1021844768_nAlso, join in the fun on the Huckleberry Days Arts Festival Facebook page.

And, if you make it to the Festival, please share your thoughts and pictures with us!

 

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