About the time Mid-August shows up I start getting excited…..I start passing tiny green Huckleberries and know that in a couple weeks to a month ripe H Berries will be surrounding us in the mountains. Yeah, yeah…I get a little excited. My eyes start to glaze over as I daydream about making H Berry jam in December when the ground is frozen. I think of berries in my oatmeal, berries warmed by the sun, popping between my teeth. Coming home with purple stained hands. And more likely a purple tongue and teeth……
Yesterday as we were at Hurricane Ridge I popped into the visitor center for a second and my eyes caught a book I hadn’t seen before
Well, it seemed my kind of book so I picked up a copy. ‘Asta Bowen’s writing is like reading what goes through my mind. Her book is an incredibly fun read – you get an education without feeling like you are getting one 😉
Her book has all the info one could need on ID’ing the berries, history, recipes and some really cool old school stories.
I think at times why I love picking the berries so much is the memories I have with my parents when I was young. I grew up picking – every year my parents and friends from their church would load up in vans and head up into the old clearcuts in the hills. We would pick and pick (no picking limits in those days – it was clear cuts after all and the late 70’s/early 80’s). None of the families had any money and lived hand to mouth. Bery picking was a huge thing – just like apple picking in Fall was. My mom was a master canner before the name existed. You didn’t think “Oh, I can buy this at the mega grocery store” simply because you couldn’t. And you still cannot…. The concept of buying a pint of wild Huckleberries, Salmonberries, Thimbleberries and others rarely occures outside of tiny farmstands in the mountains – the berries are wild, not raised to be hardy for long term storage. So enjoy them when you find them!
If you love Huckleberries like I do, take a look at ‘Asta Bowen’s neat book.