If you love fresh huckleberries, prepare yourself to work for them. In rare instances you may discover some in your grocer’s produce section, but you’ll pay dearly for them if you do. These delectable little morsels are not commercially cultivated. So unless your friendly local farmer’s market offers some, you’ll have to find and pick the wild ones. Do your huckleberry picking either very late in the morning or early afternoon. Avoid areas populated with berries entirely at all other times, when bears hunt the same ripe quarry that you do. Stay ever alert and make lots of noise the whole time you’re there so that you don’t surprise or provoke any bears.
Watch your prospective huckleberry plants for ripening fruit beginning in mid- to late summer. Check on them each week as the berries turn blue and mature to purple or black when ready for picking.
Cover up with sturdy clothing to protect yourself from thick, well-armed brush that you may have to navigate to access your target bushes. Wear gardening gloves so that you don’t stain your fingers with berry juice.
Tie each end of a short length of rope to the handles of two plastic beach pails. Drape the rope over the back of your neck. You now have a homemade carrying device which leaves both hands free for picking.
Pull the fruits gently from the cluster one by one. The skins are fragile and typically tear when the fruit is plucked. The more they tear, the faster they’ll rot.
Use sharp garden shears to cut the stems of fully ripe berry clusters to avoid tearing the skins of the fruits.
Rinse the huckleberries thoroughly in cool running water to remove insects and debris. Drain them well and use or refrigerate immediately.