Coastal Huckleberries

I posted earlier this week about a berry that I grew up with in the Northwest but was unsure on it’s identity. Yesterday I picked up a new magazine called Edible Seattle, in which huckleberries were featured. This is the berry that I wrote about and am now confirmed that I was correct from the start. Sometimes called red huckleberry, red whortleberry, red bilberry, or low-land huckleberry, this berry grows wild in Washington state between the Western side of the Cascades and the Pacific Ocean. It cannot be transplanted from the wild into a person’s yard, so trying to dig one up is pointless. It can either be bought as a start or by saving the tiny seeds and starting your own.

It is not a common berry; I have never seen it for sale at the store or farmers market. I like it that way. It is special to a select few and I feel fortunate to have had the experience of growing up with it wild in the woods around my house. I have fond memories of collecting the tiny berries with the intention of making a pie. My sister and I could never collect enough to actually make a pie; more than half of those we picked went directly into our mouths and that which was left was too few for baking.

The article, written by Jill Lightner, in Edible Seattle(Summer 2008 ) was quite comprehensive. It was both educational and fun to read. Recipes and full article are available at http://www.edibleseattle.net

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Categories: travel

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