Since we are located in Montana, it only makes sense that we talk about the famous huckleberry. Huckleberries are native to northwestern United States and Canada. Montanans in particular are infatuated with huckleberries. Montana doesn’t have a “state” food, but if it did, huckleberries would most likely be it!
Huckleberries are used for a vast amount of products, a lot of these products are edible such as: jam, syrups, pie, ice cream, chocolate, candies, and wine. Other types of products made with huckleberries typically are soaps, shampoos, lotions, oils, lip butters, bath salts and even candles.
Huckleberries are perennial shrubs that are about 2 to 3 feet tall when grown in full sun but may become 10 feet or more when grown in shade conditions. Most are deciduous but some are evergreen. New leaves are bronze to red in color and mature into a glossy green through the summer months. The berries are first tiny, pale pink urn-shaped flowers that appear in the spring.
Huckleberries are very similar to blueberries. They're small, round and range in color from red to blue and even black. They have noticeably larger seeds than blueberries, which can be somewhat bitter in taste. It depends on their color. Red huckleberries tend to be more tart, while darker purple, blue, and black berries are sweeter in flavor. They have a somewhat mild flavor, similar to that of a blueberry. While blueberries can be found in the supermarket year round, huckleberries on the other hand are not grown commercially. Huckleberries hate domestication, and are traditionally harvested from the wild, making them much harder to come by.
The peak picking season is July through September. In addition to humans, many animals enjoy huckleberries, including bears! Huckleberries are one of the grizzly bear's favorite foods, and they're willing to travel great distances to get them. So be aware of your surroundings when going huckleberry picking, because you may be in a bear's favorite patch. Another thing you need to be cautious of while huckleberry picking is poisonous berries. So if you're not sure what is poisonous or not then have someone experienced accompany you.
Like other berries, huckleberries are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants, helping to strengthen your immune system and fight off diseases. They're also high in iron, helping to prevent deficiencies that can lead to anemia. High amounts of Vitamin B also boost the metabolism, and promote health of hair and skin.
We LOVE huckleberries! That is why we made a delicious huckleberry jam. Our Wild Huckleberry jam is perfect for smoothies or you could add it to your favorite Italian dressing to create a huckleberry vinaigrette. It is also delicious on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, peanut butter sandwiches, and of course, toast.