It’s Huckleberry Time!

by

Last week I went on a hike that turned into a huckleberry picking outing. If you have never eaten huckleberries, you have missed something no one should miss. Think about everything you like about fresh wild blueberries and multiply by 10. Now you have huckleberries! Of course many went into my mouth instead of the containers, but I still came home with about 12 cups of berries. picking

I made huckleberry bran muffins, (recipe follows), and froze the rest. As with freezing any berry, the trick is to wash them and then spread them in a single layer on cookie sheets. Then put the cookie sheets into the freezer for several hours. Once the berries are frozen, bag them up to store in the freezer.

I would call this recipe organic, but because of the sugar, it is not 100%. If you know how to adjust to use honey instead of sugar, and you have a source for organic buttermilk, you could make these truly organic. You can substitute blueberries if need be. The recipe is also great if you use raisins instead of berries. With raisins, use 1/4 cup less bran.

Huckleberry Bran Muffins:

3-1/4 cups organic wheat bran
1 cup boiling water
2-1/2 cups organic whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 cup organic butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup organic molasses
4 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1-3/4 cups Huckleberries

~ Makes 24 large muffins ~

Combine 1 cup of the bran with the boiling waer and let sit until ready to use.

Combine the rest of the bran with the dry ingredients.

In another (large) bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then mix in the eggs and molasses.

In another bowl, combine the buttermilk and the soaked bran.

Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter / molasses bowl and mix. Then add 1/3 of the buttermilk and mix. Continue alternately adding and mixing the butter / molasses and the butter milk until all ingredients are combined. Mix gently after each addition.

Gently mix in the huckleberries.

Let stand in the covered bowl in the refrigerater for at least 1/2 a day. You can keep the batter refrigerated for a couple of weeks if you don’t want to cook all the muffins at once. I cook them all and freeze some of the muffins.

Fill the muffin tins 3/4 at most and bake in a 400 degree oven for 17 to 30 minutes. Small muffins will take less time. The largest size sometimes takes the full 30 minutes for me. Once they look done, I test with a toothpick and with a gentle thump on the top of a muffin. You don’t want to take them out if they are still moist or real soft to the thump. Because of the buttermilk, these muffins are not as tasty unless fully cooked. Enjoy!

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Will Sig
1 Pam Hoffman

Could you let us know the areas to find these? I live in Southern California (and before that, Prescott, AZ and before that Northern Ohio) and I don’t think that there will be any growing anywhere around us here (nor were there any in the other places that i lived).

I was visiting relatives recently, at the end of August, in Northern Idaho and I saw huckleberries in a lot of products in that area.

Anywhere else they might be growing?

Thanks a bunch :),

Pam Hoffman
http://seminarlist.blogspot.com

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2 Will

Welcome Pam!

They grow in upper elevations, probably only above 4,000 feet. I am only familiar with the Southern Oregon huckleberries. Here they are in the Sky Lakes Wilderness area, Brown Mountain area and also the Mountain Lakes Wilderness. I know they are elsewhere in S.O. also, but these are the only places I have picked them.

There are two varieties here. The best for picking are at slightly lower elevations. They are bigger and look more like blueberries. At higher elevations, above 5,000 feet they are a smaller and red variety. Sweeter, but so small it is hard to pick them other than for eating on the spot.

They all ripen in August to very early September. I was hiking at 5,500 feet and above this week and they are all gone now. If you are ever visiting Southern Oregon at the right time, contact me and I can give you specific directions.

-Will

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3 Heidi

I have struggled to find good huckleberry spots in S. Oregon for years. I would very much appreciate directions from Ashland to some places with the larger berries and information on when they ripen. The berries I have found are pitifully small, the redder type, which are hardly worth the effort.

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4 Cassie S

Thanks for the great blog on this – I live in Klamath Falls, although I grew up in Northeast Oregon. Where are some good spots, specifically, to pick huckleberries near here?

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5 Will

Hi Cassie – Look at the comment right above yours. I would suggest the Brown mountain trail if you are going this weekend. Otherwise, it might be too late and then you would have to go to high elevation in the Sky Lakes wilderness. Both are off of 140 between Klamath Falls and Medford at the top of the Cascades.

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6 Marlene Affeld

I appreciate your sharing your tasty recipe for the huckleberry muffins – I love huckleberries and we are blessed with an abundant supply here in northwestern Montana – in August you will find huckleberry pickers all over the hills. When I am out of huckleberries, blueberries can be subsituted in most recipes.

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7 Catherine Adams

Where can we find Huckleberries in Northern California? We live in the Yosemite area but have never seen any in that area? We use to go to my Grandparents cabin and pick them on the east facing slope as the road goes toward Mt. Rainier. We would love to find a place in California. They are the best berry!
Any suggestions
Thanks,
Catherine

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8 Pam

Hi,

I’m in southern Oregon (Medford) and understand there is a place called
Huckleberry Mtn out towards the Union Creek area but can’t seem to
find it on any map. Do you know it and can you give me directions please.
I’m looking for the smaller, sweeter ones.
Thanks,
Pam

Reply

9 Will

Hi Pam – I believe you are thinking of Brown Mountain and the Brown Mountain Trail. It is in that area and it is huckleberry time now. I may hike the trail and pick some berries this week!

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10 Heidi

Huckleberry Mt is where I found the smaller berries. I would prefer to learn about another site.

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11 Will

Hi Heidi – The comment you replied to above lists the only places in Southern Oregon I have found Huckleberries. Brown Mountain, (link below), probably has the largest berries, but they are still much smaller than blackberries. Takes a long time to fill a container. Hope that helps.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Mountain_(Klamath_County,_Oregon)

.

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12 Rod

Seeing how difficult it is to find huckleberries in California and Oregon has makes me count my blessings of being so close to the mountains in North Idaho. Usually, a drive up the mountains and a short hike in the woods is all it takes. I do know that many folks here keep their secret patches exactly that…a secret but havent had a problem finding them myself.
Rod recently posted..Picking and Cleaning HuckleberriesMy Profile

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