Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Huckleberry Pie

Until I moved to northeastern Washington, I had never had a huckleberry. The first summer we were married, Travis and I lived in Kettle Falls, and a couple in the church there brought us a container-full, which I used in some muffins, I think. Both in Kettle Falls, and here in Cusick, when we moved, we kept hearing people talk about "their" huckleberry patches, and the right times to "go picking." It seemed huckleberry picking was a bit of an initiation to living in the rural northwest! If you have never had a huckleberry, it is a wild berry, similar to a commercial blueberry, though smaller and more tart. The bushes grow in relatively high elevation, and are not currently cultivated commercially anywhere, as far as I can tell. If you are fortunate enough to live in huckleberry country, you may find someone selling the wild berries on a street corner or in front of your local supermarket. Last week, Travis and I were invited to come pick huckleberries at the home of one of our church folks. They have a great patch on the hill by their house, but due to some physical limitations, are unable to reach the rather steep slope on which the berries grow. So, we grabbed our buckets and set to picking- some for us and some for them, munching a few along the way, of course! We soon found that picking the wild berries is a bit of an art form. They do not generally grow in large clusters, but have to be searched out, usually found hiding under leaves. They are small and so are the bushes.

It took us awhile to accumulate very many berries, but it was fun and relaxing to sit under the pines (staining jeans as well as hands!) and quietly harvest little berries, squirrels chattering overhead.
When I got my share of the berries home, I decided to make a pie!

I found a recipe on allrecipes.com, and for my first attempt, I think it turned out pretty well!

I followed one reviewer's advice and added additional cornstarch, since the berries tend to be very juicy, but it still gushed juice when I sliced the cooled pie later (I just scooped out the juice and put in on ice cream later- no waste there!).

I also could have added more sugar, as the pie was still pretty tart! However, I just sprinkled a little added sugar on my piece to make up for it. :)

These tweaks aside, it was a real northwestern experience! I still have 3-4 cups of berries left in my freezer, so we'll see what I can do with those...


  1. I love adore and obsess over Huckleberries! I can't wait to go to the Huckleberry Festival up by Mount Hood this year. You should of checked out my blog, because I posted a Huckleberry Pie recipe back in March that is out of this world insanely good! Of course this looks to die for too :)

  2. Ah! How did I forget that?? I read it back then but somehow it didn't occur to me it was huckleberries. I would have loved to make your mom's recipe. You know, I think I learned that the tapioca is important in these juicy kind of pies. I didn't have any, so I looked for a recipe without any, but now that I see your mom's has 1 1/4 cups of it, (and your pie looks like it held together very well!) I think it must be important. That and the sugar. But otherwise, yeah it was great! Next time! :)


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