Late in summer and into early fall one of the best things happens in the wilds. Huckleberry and blueberry harvest season! When nothing is better than to disappear into the bushes and eat till your hands are literally stained purple. The season will depend on where you live/and or hike. Ours starts in late summer and often continues on till first freeze in the mountains, in the PNW of Washington and Oregon states.
One of my favorite articles to write was Huckleberry Bites for Washington Trails Association. The recipes are below.
Wild mountain blueberries. And here is something I have noticed for many years – blueberries point down, huckleberries often point up. Depending on the variety, they can grow just a few inches above the ground, to plants that are quite tall.
They may be tiny, but they have a lot of flavor hidden in them.
And yes, we could argue this into the ground, huckleberries ARE different than blueberries. The taste profile is similar, but you will notice distinct differences. Evergreen Huckleberries (Vaccinium ovatum) are a dark color, ranging from deep blue to purple to black. They grow both down low and up into the subalpine zones, often near streams. The bushes tend to be larger. The berries can be tiny to nickel sized. The berries have seeds inside, which are edible. You tend to notice them, where as you don’t with blueberries. Can you use them interchangeably? Yes.
Note: There is evergreen huckleberries, which don’t lose leaves in winter, and deciduous, which do.
Red Huckleberries are found down lower, in sunny forest especially. Keep an eye for them. The tiny berries are tart and flavorful.
Books To Read
Northwestern Wild Berries A classic for the United States PNW region.
Huckleberry Book: All About the West’s Most Treasured Berry – From Botany to Bears, Mountain Lore to Recipes – revised
Now the recipes!