One of our favorite things to do in July and August is hunt for huckleberries. We just so happen to be surrounded by some of the best huckleberry patches ever. I think. I suppose I probably shouldn’t say that because I’ve never actually hunted for these tiny nuggets from heaven anywhere else in the world, but it’s pretty great around these parts. Here’s the thing about them, though: they are a pain in the ass to pick. They are tiny and they aren’t like the little leaves on a rosemary sprig that you can just swipe down with two fingers backwards and they all fall off. I’ve tried that method, thinking I was genius, only to have the berries completely smash in my fingers which was fine for that one time because I licked it off like I was in the desert and it was the only source of water I’d come across in days. But it’s not a very efficient way to pick huckleberries. So you have to pick them one by one, very tenderly (that word is so weird) so as not to destroy them before they get to your mouth.
In 2 hours we had maybe 1/2 gallon. And we also forced our children with tiny little fingers to help pick. Because we’re parents and can totally do that. We’d pick as many as we could hold in our hands and then dump them in a communal huckleberry bucket and any time one of the kids got within 2 feet of it we’d scream, “GET AWAY FROM THE BERRIES!!!” because if you knock it over, you’re basically starting from square one. And we just don’t have that kind of patience.
I do believe the tiniest kitten enjoyed the experience.
So did Charlotte kitten.
She loved it. She’d find one and it was like a surprise to her each and every time.
“Oooooh! Look at this tiny and perfect one!” and she’d plop it in the bucket.
Danny utilized his hat because he went up further than the rest of us. Further than I was willing to go because I just watched a show on NatGeo about cougars who are contracting this disease that makes them not only comfortable around humans, but also attack-y. Like…they attack and eat humans. I wasn’t about to take that chance so I stayed no further than 5 long leaps from the car. Human leaps, not cougar leaps. You guys, the show was called “ZOMBIE CATS.” Nuh uh.
What do we make with our huckleberries? Well I’m glad you asked because I want to share a recipe with you. Along with sweet treats (like pancakes and tarts and pies) we like to make sauces to drizzle over things like potatoes and meat and really anything else on your dinner plate.
Huckleberry Reduction Sauce
1.5 cups huckleberries
1/4 cup red wine
1/3 cup sugar
1 T balsamic
1 T lemon juice
1 pinch of cinnamon
Stick all that stuff in a small saucepan and reduce it. Cook it down until it’s thick and syrupy/saucy. I like to mash up the huckleberries but Dan likes them whole. You guys, we fight a lot over things like this because we both think we know the perfect way when really just I do. So, I mean, do what you want, but totally mash them up.
Happy Huckleberry Summer!