Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How Should Huckleberries Taste?

...
Huckleberry image by asmik from Fotolia.com

Huckleberries look very much like large, wild blueberries. The huckleberry bush grows best in full shade. Although it grows to 2 to 3 feet tall in full sun, it can reach 10 feet tall in full shade. Wild huckleberry bushes are commonly found under coniferous trees in the Pacific Northwest. Their flavor is unusual. Huckleberries are often used in local cuisines where the berries grow wild. They grow best in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 7 through 9.

  • Huckleberries look very much like large, wild blueberries.
  • The huckleberry bush grows best in full shade.

Ripeness

The key to getting the most flavorful huckleberry is choosing the right time to harvest for optimal ripeness. They start to ripen in mid-August and turn a deep purplish black when ripe. Although beautiful when red, huckleberries of this color are still unripe and will not be sweet, like fully ripe fruit. Ripe huckleberries are firm, but are a little spongy.

Firmness

Huckleberries that aren't ripe will be hard to the touch. As they ripen, they become less firm and more spongy. By squeezing the dark berries, picking the berry, and associating the firmness with the flavor, you can quickly ascertain which berries are ripe and which should remain on the cane for a while. The skin of huckleberries is much thicker than that of their domestic cousins, the blueberry.

  • The key to getting the most flavorful huckleberry is choosing the right time to harvest for optimal ripeness.
  • By squeezing the dark berries, picking the berry, and associating the firmness with the flavor, you can quickly ascertain which berries are ripe and which should remain on the cane for a while.

Sweetness

Ripe huckleberries should be sweet with a little tartness. Bitter or sour huckleberries are likely not yet ripe. Because they are similar to blueberries, many people expect huckleberries to taste like their close cousins. However, wild huckleberries are sweeter than blueberries.

Flavor

According to the University of Idaho, huckleberries contain more flavor-imparting chemicals than domestic blueberries. The flavor of huckleberries, especially wild huckleberries, are generally much stronger than blueberries. However, flavor can vary greatly from bush to bush. If making huckleberry jam or candies, mixing fruit from different bushes can help to create a smoother flavor with less variance.

  • Ripe huckleberries should be sweet with a little tartness.
  • Because they are similar to blueberries, many people expect huckleberries to taste like their close cousins.

Keeping

Traditionally made into preserves, another good way to keep berries is through freezing. If you pick more of the berries than you can eat in in two to three days, place the berries in plastic freezer bags or containers and place them in your freezer. Huckleberries can last as long as six months frozen.

Related Articles

How to Use Blueberries to Test pH
How to Use Blueberries to Test pH
Huckleberries Vs. Blueberries
Huckleberries Vs. Blueberries
Blackberries Vs. Black Raspberries
Blackberries Vs. Black Raspberries
When to Pick Wild Raspberries
When to Pick Wild Raspberries
Blueberry Plants in South Carolina
Blueberry Plants in South Carolina
Huckleberries
Huckleberries
How to Make Elderberry Liqueur
How to Make Elderberry Liqueur
How to Tell When an Asian Pear Is Ripe?
How to Tell When an Asian Pear Is Ripe?
Blueberry Leaf Identification
Blueberry Leaf Identification
How to Freeze Dry Cranberries
How to Freeze Dry Cranberries
The Difference Between a Bilberry & a Blueberry
The Difference Between a Bilberry & a Blueberry
The Best Varieties of Blueberry Hedges
The Best Varieties of Blueberry Hedges
Difference Between Blueberries & Huckleberries
Difference Between Blueberries & Huckleberries
Identification of the Leaf of a Berry Plant or Bush
Identification of the Leaf of a Berry Plant or Bush
Garden Guides
×