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Picking Huckleberries - What to remember (know)

  1. Identify the Correct Huckleberry Species:

    • There are different species of huckleberries (at least 12), such as the mountain huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum) and the black huckleberry (Gaylussacia baccata). We use only the mountain huckleberry in our 100% mtn huck foods.

    • Ensure you are familiar with the specific huckleberry species that grows in your region and understand its distinctive characteristics.

    • In northwest Montana people often refer to red huckleberries. That is typically a stage of maturation where the berry is reddish (unripe) and locals will call them red hucks. However, we do use a red huckleberry when we can get it. It is red like a salmon egg and beautiful. It is a species called Vaccinium parvifolium.

2. Proper Harvesting Techniques:

  • Huckleberries are delicate fruits, and it's crucial to handle them with care to avoid damaging them or the plant.

  • Gently pluck the berries using your fingers or small hand-held tools like a comb or rake specifically designed for berry picking.

  • Be mindful of the surrounding plants and avoid damaging them while harvesting huckleberries.

3, Consider Optimal Harvesting Conditions:

  • Huckleberries are typically harvested in late summer or early fall when they are ripe.

  • Aim to pick huckleberries when they are fully ripe, which is indicated by their color (usually deep purple or black) and a sweet aroma.

  • Choose a day with good weather conditions, as rain or high humidity can affect the fruit quality and increase the risk of spoilage.

  • Plan your huckleberry picking trip during the appropriate season and research the best locations known for huckleberry abundance.

It's worth noting that mountain huckleberries (Vaccinium membranaceum) are typically found in high-altitude regions and have specific habitat requirements. Ensure you are familiar with the growing conditions, local regulations, and any permits that may be required for harvesting huckleberries in your area.

Always respect the environment and practice sustainable harvesting techniques. Avoid overharvesting, leaving some berries for wildlife and for the natural ecosystem to thrive.


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