Wild Huckleberry Muffins
Updated: Jan 23
My history with huckleberries goes way back into my childhood with so many fond memories of foraging for huckleberries with my parents and younger sister. My mom would pack up the cooler with food, load up buckets for the berries, and Dad would load up the grill. Then we would go to the woods where we would spend the entire day. The drive to our secret berry destination was always an adventure. We'd stop a few times to let the dog out to go for a quick swim, while we would shoot the .22 rifle at gophers. Once we got to the berry
area, on went the fanny packs and back packs with outdoor survival supplies. With buckets in our hands, we would hike around the area for hours. Nestled for the day deep in the woods, the silence and the beauty, berry picking with the black bears, and always being aware of your surroundings, is where my imagination would challenge my adventurous spirit. Could I survive on berries alone, if I got so far from Mom and Dad that they couldn't find me? Yes, possibly. But Dad had the weapons for protection, and all I had was my little legs.
Taking my family out to go huckleberry picking is a tradition I hold near and dear to my heart. It's the memories, the scenery, the flat tires, bumpy narrow roads, and of course, the meals just taste better out in the woods. But the berries, let's talk about them. In Montana, we call huckleberries "purple gold." It can be a lot of work getting 8-10 pounds worth of berries. The scratches and scrapes brushing up against the shrubs, the bee stings, the sore fingers, the sweat that pours off of you on a hot summer day, the horse fly bites on the rear end, making sure a bear isn't passed out under a shrub, oh, and the mosquitoes. It can seem like hours go by, until you see that bucket fill up. Why? Because you can't help but eat a little or a lot along the way. But then it hits you. That sweet, floral, bright, refreshing smell of those berries in the bucket. It makes your saliva glands pucker. Your purple fingers show your hard work. Then you start thinking about all the goodies you can make with them when you get home. It's worth it. The fruit of your labor. The end result, of a fulfilling day harvesting such beautiful gems that God has given us to enjoy from the forest. Those wild berries that are so nutritious and delicious.
Then you go home, and clean and de-stem the gems. You can freeze them, dehydrate them, turn them into jams or preserves, make syrup, ice-cream, pies, fruit leather, and I'm sure much more. I like to preserve huckleberries by making canned syrups and jams. But Huckleberry muffins are requested from my family, and I enjoy hearing them rave over how delicious they are, and to know that all of us participated in harvesting them.
So, here is my simple little recipe for these treasured, wild huckleberries from my home state. If you don't have huckleberries, you can substitute them with blueberries.
1 3/4 c flour (leave 1 Tablespoon out to toss huckleberries in)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c sugar
1/2 c butter
3/4 c milk
1 1/2 c huckleberries
In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together the sugar and butter, then add the egg, then stir in the milk. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture. In a separate bowl, toss the tablespoon of flour around the huckleberries to coat them, then add to the mixture and fold until incorporated. Fill your muffin tray.
Heat oven to 400 degrees
Bake for roughly 15 minutes
Makes 18 muffins.
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