Wednesday, July 29, 2009
This is my favorite picture of a huckleberry that I took last fall after a light frost changed the colors of the leaves, but the berries were still good.
For those of you who do not know what a huckleberry is - it is a small blueberry that has very intense flavor that birds, bears and humans love.
My first memory that I still have is going huckleberrying with my mother and sisters in Teton Valley. We were able to walk from our home to the patches. We canned them as fruit, made jam, jelly, and put them in pancakes to flavor them. We still do that as well as freeze them for my wife to make Huckleberry Cheese Cake.
The last two years have been tough finding enough huckleberries for our family. We need from five to 10 gallons and I did not get them because dry springs and late frosts killed the blossoms and early fruit. This year is different. The very wet spring has put harvest about two weeks late and I am just starting to find some ripe ones. Yesterday I found a nice patch late in the day and picked half a gallon. Tomorrow I will hit the patch early and hopefully will pick between one and two gallons - unless the bears have found it and rooted it up. There are a lot of green berries and my main patches are a week or two away from being ripe. That means I will stop fishing as much and will hit the berry patches. I will have to battle bears, hummingbirds, other birds and other berry pickers for the great little fruit.