The wild huckleberry is a tasty relative of the blueberry, but is much more elusive.
Unlike the blueberry, the huckleberry has thus far resisted efforts to cultivate it. While researchers are working on the domestication of huckleberries, they have not yet had much success, so if you want fresh huckleberries, you still have to get them from the wild.
As Asta Bowen, author of "The Huckleberry Book"
writes, "You can take the huckleberry out of the mountains, but you can't take the mountains out of the huckleberry."
A fresh huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum) looks like a blueberry, but it's smaller, darker and shinier and it tastes a whole lot different - tarter, sweeter, juicier and much more intense.
Unlike blueberries, which have dry skins and little aroma, huckleberries leak their juices when picked and have a wonderful wild and potent fragrance.
Fresh huckleberries have a short shelf life. Huckleberries should be cleaned and refrigerated as soon as possible. Eat them fresh, cook them down into jam or preserves, use them in pies, pastries and sauces or so freeze the individual berries for later use.
Northwestern huckleberries ripen in August and September on sunny alpine slopes in both the Cascades and the Coast Range.
Find delicious recipes, visit the Earthy Delights Blog!