Huckleberry Finn, Huckleberry Hound, the expression, “I’m your huckleberry,” and the lyrics from “Moon River,” “…waiting ‘round the bend, my huckleberry friend,” all evoke sentiments of sweet nostalgia. It is no wonder that the mere mention of a huckleberry buckle, cobbler, crisp, pie or scone evokes a similar mouthwatering reaction.
So, what the heck is a huckleberry anyway?
So, what the heck is a huckleberry anyway? Culinarily interchangeable, huckleberries are often confused with blueberries. Darker in color and a tad bit sweeter than a blueberry, huckleberries and blueberries are like kissing cousins, just from two different botanical families; huckleberries are from the genus Gaylussacia and blueberries are Vaccinium. In the late 1600s American colonists came upon our native blueberries and called them hurtleberries, which is a variety of a European blueberry. Somewhere along the way the word hurtleberry evolved into huckleberry. Today, the main difference between the berries is that huckleberries have never been commercially cultivated — if you want ‘em, you will need to get out there and forage for them. Just remember who is your huckleberry when you come upon the motherlode.
Our favorite huckleberry recipes? Saveur’s Huckleberry Crisps and their Huckleberry Pie, a Huckleberry Buckle (love the name) from justapinch.com, Edible Portland’s (Oregon, where huckleberries grow rampantly) Huckleberry Black Pepper Sorbet and Huckleberry Milkshake or how about a refreshing Huckleberry Fig Shrub from bojongourmet.com.